Aston’s tribute to rivals ahead of derby

Mark Aston
Mark Aston

Mark Aston has paid tribute to rivals Doncaster ahead of a crucial South Yorkshire derby.

The Sheffield Eagles coach says Dons’ chief executive Karl Hall and player-coach Paul Cooke ‘have done a great job’.

He added: “Paul, in his first job as player-coach, has got the players really working for each other, playing to their ability and enjoying their rugby. Credit to them, they are the first team to beat Leigh and will be on top of their game.”

Eagles are struggling and defeat at the Keepmoat, tomorrow (kick-off 3pm), could see them drop into a relegation battle.

The Dons have set the pace this season, are chasing a top three finish in the Championship and could make it a league double after winning 42-34 at Owlerton in April. Aston said: “We’re not performing and we have to start giving that little bit extra. Doncaster have done well against the top teams this year.

“When they beat us at Owlerton they were well behind at half-time but they kept going until the final whistle and showed they are a very dangerous team.”

Kyle Briggs, who has been playing at loose-forward since his signing from Featherstone, could be handed a more central playmaker role to exploit his kicking game.

Aston said: “The Keepmoat is a nice wide pitch and we will try to execute some of the things we do well.”

Meanwhile the RFL is expected to announce its decision on clubs that are alleged to have fielded players ineligible under dual regulation rules in last weekend’s games.

The clubs, including Batley Bulldogs who beat the Eagles, were due to respond to allegations by yesterday evening. If found in breach of the rules they face a fine and/or having points deducted.