The new behind the scenes structure at Sheffield Eagles is allowing director of rugby Mark Aston more freedom on the training ground – and he expects the club to see the long-term benefits.
Following the appointment of chief executive John Whaling, Aston has been allowed to pass over several of his off the field commitments as he looks to fully focus on his troops on the ground.
Whilst the Eagles’ full-time revolution is still in its infancy, Aston has admitted that he has relished the chance to be on the training ground on a day-to-day basis.
This week he has been plotting his strategy ahead of arguably the biggest game of the season so far, when the Eagles travel to cash rich Leigh Centurions on Sunday (3pm).
“This is the dream for me,” Aston told The Star.
“I have been dreaming about being a full-time coach. It has taken us 16 years to get to this position but I love it.
“I am enjoying being around a group of people who want to train and want to challenge themselves.”
Having the advantage of being around his players full-time not only has its benefits in terms of coaching.
The daily face-to-face chats will have given Aston a good insight into his squad’s mental toughness, and after two patchy performances the Eagles chief will have to use his increased knowledge of his players’ psyche ahead of the showdown with Leigh.
“Being around them for so long allows me to get to know them and work out how to get the best out of them. We get to find out what makes them tick,” he admitted.
“You learn so much about an individual.
“I have missed the full-time environment, and the likes of Keith Senior have missed it as well because he has been away from full-time coaching too.
“You can’t beat the camaraderie, the enjoyment and the fun. I am loving it.
“I don’t mind coming in and doing some work behind the scenes, but my main focus is getting into that top four again and being better than last year.”
Whilst Aston may have been unhappy with his side’s previous two performances, the facts remain that the Eagles are second with three wins from four games.
Leigh, like the Eagles, have been beaten already by Batley this season, and they also threw away a handsome lead to draw 32-32 with Bradford last weekend.