Positive show puts Eagles in mood for Leigh

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FIVE games into the season and Sheffield Eagles coach Mark Aston has finally seen all his frontline players in action.

He was able to draft in winger Vinny Finigan and loose-forward Joe Hirst for their first starts since the end of the last campaign against York Knights.

Both missed the run-in to the Grand Final with injuries that needed surgery but they showed up well in the 46-14 win with Finigan claiming two tries.

Their return and the more positive performance by the team was just what Aston had wanted with games against top-six teams Leigh and Featherstone coming up.

“The lads were great,” said Aston. “We had a bit more penetration in our play on the edges.

“We weren’t 100 per cent because at times we cruised through the gears. We’ve got to get that killer instinct because we’ve got some massive games coming up and if we don’t play for 80 minutes we’ll come unstuck.”

He added: “Vinny Finigan was very good to say he hadn’t played since the end of last season. It was good to see Joe Hirst. He’s come back from a broken jaw and did well. We’ll need those people.”

Aston took advantage of the game against York, who have struggled with only one win this season, to rotate his squad.

It gave captain Jack Howieson the chance to rest a minor knee strain and Alex Szostak was given a weekend off.

Duane Straugheir was promoted off the bench to starting in the second row and Hillsborough teenager Connor Scott was given his first game for nearly two years.

Aston said: “Duane was good and strong. Connor Scott hadn’t played for 18 months. He put in a great effort out there, he got tired and fatigued but he got involved and that will give him the confidence that tells him he can compete at this level.”

With the game at Leigh on Friday the toughest test of the season there was no weekend off with Aston calling the players into training yesterday.