Rugby league: Aston happy as Sheffield Eagles tighten up

Solid defence from the Eagles against Halifax
Solid defence from the Eagles against Halifax

Sheffield Eagles director of rugby Mark Aston hailed his side’s defensive work which provided the foundation for their victory over Halifax on Sunday.

The Eagles’ miserly defence has been the cornerstone of their early-season success with only unbeaten Leigh Centurions having a better record in the Kingstone Press Championship this season.

In recent weeks the water ight defence has been breached by leaders Leigh and Super League side Hull in the Challenge Cup, but Aston was delighted to see his side return to the standards which have helped their rise to third place in the table.

“Defensively we had our attitude back,” beamed the Eagles coach after the 36-10 victory over fellow top-four contenders Halifax.

“I was a little disappointed to let 30-plus points in over the last two games so before the game we talked about having pride in our defensive work again, similar to what we have had for most of the season.

“It was important to be solid defensively again and we were. We maybe weren’t as fluent as I would have liked. One or two players didn’t quite hit their straps but overall there were some pleasing aspects.”

The Eagles were forced to soak up early pressure against Halifax before punishing their opponents with three quick tries in the first half to take command of the game.

Aston took great delight at his side’s finishing, while he also reserved praise for the returning Dominic Brambani who scored 14 of the Eagles 30 points.

“We were really clinical and that is something that we have been looking for,” he added.

“When we have the opportunities we need to really nail them and we did that to a large extent against Halifax.

“It was great to see Dom Brambani back and kicking really well. He looked like he had a smile on his face again, which was fantastic. The pleasing thing is that we won. There are still one or two things that need to be nailed, but we have three or four players to come back in and add something to the team for next week.”

The home game with Dewsbury has been rearranged for Tuesday May 19 (8pm), due to the Rams’ involvement in the Challenge Cup, while the game with Doncaster has been put back to Friday May 8 (7.30pm).