Defence remains a significant concern for Sheffield Eagles director of rugby Mark Aston as he continues to pick the bones out of his side’s latest defeat.
After slipping to a 30-37 home loss against bottom club Workington Town, the Eagles lost ground in the race for a top four finish.
With a host of games coming up against some of the Championship’s elite, Aston will need his side to find the answers quickly if they are to keep their eyes looking up the division.
For Aston, a long-standing issue is his side’s ability to keep teams at bay, and he again reiterated his alarm after the weekend’s setback - their eighth reverse in 11 outings.
“The defence has been a concern since the second game against Halifax and I didn’t like it,” Aston told The Star.
“It is down to the mental attitude and being committed, and the will and the want to defend.
“We have got a group of people who will do their bit, but we are not doing this as a team at the moment.”
It isn’t just defence that is giving Aston a major headache, either.
Indiscipline at key times during games has long since been an Aston bug-bear. It was evident again against Workington, with the Eagles chief cutting a frustrated figure as he watched his side slip to their eighth defeat of the campaign.
“Everything was a problem from making mistakes, not sticking to the game plan and indiscipline,” he added.
“By giving penalties away for high shots, flicking the ball from the back of the hand, and dropping the ball – it was all in there.
“This is a frustration for me because we’ve beaten ourselves, to an extent.”
Aston admits it is a challenging time for the staff, as they look to find a remedy quick, and the games don’t come easy in the next fortnight.
They host third placed Bradford Bulls this Friday, before a Summer Bash showdown with second-placed London Broncos.
“I thought we started the game well against Workington but we went away from the plan,” Aston continued.
“It frustrates the life out of me. I thought we didn’t compete as well as we should have but we learn a little more about ourselves. It is challenging for me and the coaching and back room staff, but we have just got to keep working hard.”
Kick off against Bradford this Friday is 7.45pm at Sheffield Hallam Universities Sports Park, Bawtry Road.