Eagles eager to get out of the rut

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SHEFFIELD Eagles’ boss Mark Aston wants his players to “ease up and stop digging” themselves deeper into trouble.

With only one win in four games the pressure is on the Eagles to produce the results and get both hands on a play-off place.

“We are in a bit of a rut and we’re digging and digging and I just hope we hit a rock quickly,” said Aston.

“It’s up to the players to stop digging those holes because we are capable and we’re a good team.

“We’re making silly mistakes. I want the lads to ease up and start smiling - then it will all come back.”

With five league games to play the Eagles have a fingertip hold on to fifth place in the Championship on points difference from in-form Halifax.

Barrow being docked six points for salary cap breaches has given the Eagles a breathing space with the Raiders dropping out of the play-off places.

Four points from the next two games, at Hunslet and Barrow, would guarantee a top six finish and an early ticket into the Grand Final play-offs.

Aston is hoping that some of the determination fullback Misi Taulapapa showed when the game started to slip away in the 34-6 defeat at Featherstone will rub off on the rest of the squad.

“Misi gave everything,” he said. “When we lost it he got dogged and he whacked them and showed a bit of pride in himself, so that gives me a bit of something and if Misi can get that over to the rest of the squad away we go.”

Aston added: “As a coach I want to get something out of every game – go home and say ‘didn’t he do well’ or ‘didn’t they do that right’ – after Featherstone I couldn’t say that.

“I have seen it coming and I’ve spoke about it to the players and tried to kick their backsides and get them up but the response hasn’t happened yet.

“It is in their hands and all I can do is keep beating the drum and looking at ways to change it and look at ways to freshen it up.”