Sheffield Eagles’ coach Mark Aston is happy to have booked a ticket to the Northern Rail Cup final for the first time but has a warning for his players.
The Eagles won the South Yorkshire derby but it wasn’t the convincing performance Aston was looking for.
“Because it’s a semi-final you are not always going to get perfection,” he said. “We found a way to win the game, we were a little bit disappointed by the way we started. You certainly don’t want that in semi-finals but we still just had enough.”
Aston will be demanding more from his players in the final against Leigh Centurions, who beat Batley 23-6 in the other semi.
“Leigh had a great result against a strong Batley team and they have got danger through the team,” he said.
“We will have to be a lot better than we were against Doncaster. Our lads know how to win and always believe they can win a game. I have to keep trying to challenge the lads and keep them focused, that’s the big thing. Against Doncaster we dropped our focus a little bit.””
First half tries from Joe Hirst, Menzie Yere, Misi Taulapapa and Tom Armstrong put Eagles in control.
Second tries for Taulapapa and Yere - with his 27th of the season - sealed the 32-10 win but their grip on the game slipped and Eagles defence was tested in the final 20 minutes.
Hooker James Davey and back row forward Matt Garside won praise from Aston for their impact after coming off the bench.
He added: “They injected something into our play and Misi Taulapapa was good but there were no outstanding performances.”
Aston is monitoring the future of on-loan forward Ben Gledhill, whose prospects at Salford Reds are under review.
The prop has played 10 games for Eagles this season and the club hope to at least extend the loan deal to the end of the season.
The 23-year-old hasn’t figured in the Super League club’s plans since the arrival of Brian Noble as coach.
Aston said: “We think Ben has a meeting coming up with Brian and we’ll wait and see what’s happening. Once we know that we’ll be having discussions.”