Attacking call for Eagles

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Sheffield Eagles players will be warned that strong defence is not enough after grinding out a crucial win at Batley Bulldogs.

As so often this season the Eagles bounced back from a home defeat with a gritty performance in the 16-12 victory.

Coach Mark Aston praised the determined defending but wasn’t happy that the team didn’t follow a more attacking game plan.

“We got a win. I can talk all day about defence but I’ve said for weeks that you can’t keep defending because it will get you,” he said.

“I thought we were going to lose that game in the last ten minutes because of the amount of work we did in the first half.

“We completed (our sets) at 50-odd per cent in the first half and that usually comes back and burns you. The lads have a bit of steel, a bit of resolve but I’m looking for improvement and that display wasn’t what I wanted.”

A bonus was the return of prop forward Eddie Battye for his first senior game of the season following surgery on a foot injury.

Aston said: “It was brilliant to have Eddie back and Matt Garside played a lot better but not many positives.”

With Championship leaders Leigh Centurions next up at Owlerton Stadium Aston will demand his players keep to the game plan set out by the coaching team.

Leigh beat Doncaster 50-20 to keep their unbeaten record after 11 rounds of the league competition.

Aston said: “The challenge is to beat Leigh and sometimes in a big game like that people stand up.

“At Batley individuals had to work hard because they played dumb. It was a poor game of rugby.

“The concern is that people are not doing what I ask them to do, I have shown them how to play and win yet some do what they want. I’ll go back to basics in training.”