Aston hopes defeat acts as wake-up call

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SHEFFIELD Eagles coach Mark Aston hopes his team have been given a “reality shock” by the first 20 disastrous minutes at Barrow Raiders.

They were hit for 26 points and only a remarkable comeback salvaged a losing bonus point in a 36-26 defeat.

Aston hopes that some hard lessons have been learned as the team face three home games before going into the Championship play-offs.

“We have got a bit of form back, the first 20 minutes at Barrow was a shot of reality, then we started getting out of the hole we were in,” he said. “The last 60 minutes were all positive, we started to show what we are capable of and when we play like that we can test any team.”

He added: “We showed a lot of character and attitude to get back into the game and do the stuff we have talked about in training.

“We need to be playing well, I wanted the lads to enjoy themselves at Barrow and they did that for 60 minutes when they expressed themselves.”

Now Aston wants his decision makers in the team to build on that when they face Batley Bulldogs at Bramall Lane on Sunday.

A victory would keep alive the Eagles hopes of finishing in the top four and a home game in the first round of the play-offs.

Aston went into the Barrow game with only two forwards substitutes – prop Ryan Hepworth and back rower Sam Scott – which allowed him to give hard-working hooker Andrew Henderson a well-earned breather.

“I wanted to have a bit of cover for the backs on the bench in Vinny Finigan and I could have left Pat Smith out but I wanted to have mobility and to get Hendo (Henderson) a spell on the bench in the game,” he said.