Sheffield Eagles director of rugby Mark Aston described their victory over Bradford Bulls on Sunday as ‘emotional’ after a thrilling 32-30 success at The Keepmoat Stadium.
The Eagles, who have yet to taste back-to-back defeats in the Kingstone Press Championship this season, upset the form book to put themselves firmly in control of securing a top-four place, with just two rounds remaining of the regular season.
It was only the third time the Bulls have lost in the league this season, and the victory was revenge for Aston’s side who were forced to endure a pummelling in the reverse fixture earlier in the campaign.
“I’m emotional,” beamed a delighted Aston.
“I thought the boys were outstanding. When you are at 92% ball control in any game against any opposition you are going to come away with a result.
“The game got a little intense near the end and my heart was fluttering a little bit, but we just did enough in the end. I’m really made up for the boys. We have worked really hard.
“They’ve been quite honest with each other this week because we have let ourselves down a couple of times.
“We needed a result and a performance and we certainly got that. It just shows we can compete at this level. It shows we have got a good group of people and character in there.
“It was all about individual responsibility today and I thought they all stood up to be counted.”
Aston was up and down all game from his lofted position above the technical area, before finally settling on an old-fashioned coaching perspective by barking out instructions to his players from the touchline.
“It gets a little intense,” he admitted. “I didn’t want to boys to give it away. I was getting a little edgy, so if I could go down there and give them a few words of wisdom then that’s what I would do.
“It’s just the game, with the passion. I didn’t want them to throw away the hard work they had put in as it could have gone either way. We are relieved and really impressed with them. We needed to be good today and we were.”
The Eagles have a four-point buffer between them and their next opponents, Featherstone Rovers, who were beaten heavily by Leigh. Aston’s side have maintained third position, with Halifax just two points further back in fourth.