Sheffield Eagles ‘are not ready’ for new campaign

Sheffield Eagles' Mark Aston.
Sheffield Eagles' Mark Aston.

Sheffield Eagles director of rugby Mark Aston says he needed more time on the training ground with his new look side following their opening round defeat to Dewsbury Rams.

With a number of new faces only arriving in the final weeks and days of pre-season, the Eagles head coach bemoaned the lack of preparation time for some of their ring-rust, despite running Dewsbury close at the Tetley’s Stadium.

“We are not ready,” Aston told The Star.

“We looked like a team that hasn’t spent much time together, which obviously we haven’t. We’ve had 16 or 17 players throughout the majority of pre-season, and then last week we had 25 which has allowed us to play a bit more but quite simply we haven’t done enough of that. I saw it during the final run through on Thursday. We looked a bit chaotic, we were all over and that then spilled into the early stages of the Dewsbury game.”

Despite the obvious signs rustiness, Aston will also have been encouraged by his side’s fight-back in the second half when three quick-fire tries briefly gave the Eagles the lead - a clear sign of potential, once the 50-year-old has had the opportunity to work on his new look outfit.

“We set off well in the first couple of minutes and we were good, and we managed to get over the try-line but just didn’t quite score,” he added.

“We lost our way a little bit, we saw a little indiscipline creep in and that came back to haunt us. At half-time, we readdressed ourselves, we looked at it and we set off the second half with a bit of purpose.

“We completed eight of nine sets, but made a crucial mistake and consequently lost our momentum. It was a soft try, a one-on-one, and that turned the momentum to them again.

“We still had chances to win the game but we weren’t disciplined enough to complete at that stage. It will take a little bit of time to get it into them, we knew that. They have to be disciplined and respectful and play to the end to get the right result. We have some work to do on that.”