Rugby League: Sheffield Eagles coach Mark Aston hands plaudits to young stars
The youngsters are coming good again at the right time for Sheffield Eagles as director of rugby Mark Aston looks to maintain his side’s recent momentum.
The Eagles host Barrow Raiders this weekend in their final outing before the 1895 Cup final against Widnes at Wembley on August 24th.
Aston’s side are in fine form, and are looking for a fourth consecutive victory following a narrow win against Halifax last weekend.
The Eagles are picking up momentum again just at the right time, and despite having an experienced bench over recent weeks, Aston has hailed the likes of Blake Broadbent, Paddy Burns and Rory Dixon who have all made an impact at times in recent outings.
Aston told The Telegraph: “Obviously when you look at the bench, you will see plenty of youth and plenty of enthusiasm. We have had the likes of Blake Broadbent, Paddy Burns and Rory Dixon on there in recent weeks, and they have all made an impact. These lads are in their early 20s, they are only kids but I am pleased with them. If you have a look at Halifax's bench in comparison from last weekend, they had a really strong bench. They had the likes of Ben Johnston, Ben Kavanagh and Daniel Fleming. These guys have played at a high level, so or our guys to come on and rival what they had, well that's fantastic.”
Despite the recent good form, the gap between the Eagles and fifth placed Featherstone remains at four points as the sides above continue to win.
With three league games remaining, a place in the play-offs now seems increasingly unlikely, but the Eagles still have a Wembley appearance to look forward to.
Winning at Halifax last weekend was another notable result, but Aston will have had a minor concern about his side after they nearly let a comfortable position slip, in the end stumbling over the line with just a two-point advantage.
Aston said: “Was the result in doubt? I suppose when it is that close, it is. But we dominated for 65 minutes as far as I'm concerned, the disappointing thing is for the last 15 we were hanging on. We were in total control of the game at 20-6. We were dominant. Then it changed in the last 15 minutes.
“We decided to give them a bit of a leg up and stopped doing the good things which we had been doing. Like any team at this level, if you give them some chances, then they'll take it. We coughed up the ball a little cheaply, we gave the ball away a couple of times, and they came back at us to push us close.
“We can't afford to switch off and stop doing the things that work for us. We are still learning, and I don't want to be too hard on them because at the end of the day, we won.”
Aston’s side have beaten Barrow twice already this season. A late Pat Walker penalty early in the campaign secured a narrow victory in Cumbria, whilst it was a much more convincing display at the Summer Bash as the Eagles again got the better of the Raiders.