Mark Aston can be a hard man to please and wasn’t impressed by Sheffield Eagles’ downbeat 24-16 win over North Wales Crusaders.
The backs shared out the tries and the team was particularly effective in the first half, denying the visitors a point.
New signing Kyle Briggs made his debut at loose-forward and showed some touches but Aston found positives difficult to find.
“A win, that’s the most important thing but not great,” he said. “We were soft on ourselves but credit to North Wales, they dug in and had a go in the second half.
“We got a couple of tries by people who were able to do a bit more than Crusaders and we got the win. I’m disappointed because we should have rolled that game on at 24-4 and pushed on.”
It’s only the Eagles third win in the league at Owlerton and importantly gives breathing space over the relegation zone.
Crusaders were delayed and looked to be still on the bus as Eagles set off at pace. Patch Walker was held on the line but Andrew Henderson found Menzie Yere with a flat pass and the centre crashed over. Dominic Brambani added the goal.
Eagles kept up the pressure with Walker hacking on a loose ball before collecting and then putting in a chip for Turner to collect and run in from 30 metres.
Crusaders had a let-off with a marginal decision for crossing ruling out a try from Brambani and Mitch Stringer was held up under the posts.
Winger Misi Taulapapa rounded off a competent 40 minutes for the Eagles out-jumping the cover to take a long hanging cross-field kick from Brambani to touchdown for a 14-0 lead.
Crusaders had more urgency from the restart and were rewarded with loose-forward Jono Smith going low and forcing his way over at the corner from first receiver.
Eagles’ ability to snap up chances saw Lelauloto Tagaloa, on for the injured Yere, take a wild offload by Smith to race 80 metres and touch down under the posts with Brambani adding the goal.
The deficit was pushed out with Quentin Laulu-Togaage collecting an offload from Duane Straugheir to produce a dummy before swerving through.
Then the Eagles stalled as Crusaders came back to claim a losing bonus point with tries from Sed Martins and a second for Smith with Tommy Johnson kicking the goals.
Eagles: Laulu-Togagae; Turner, Yere, Straugheir, Taulapapa; Walker, Brambani; Battye, Henderson, Stringer, Knowles, Hope, Briggs. Subs: Davey, Lillycrop, Tagaloa, Aspinall.
Tries: Yere 5, Turner 11, Taulapapa 38, Tagaloa 57, Laulu-Togagae 63.
Goals: Brambani 2/ 5.
Crusaders: Johnson; Birkett, Roets, Reardon, Wilde; Ashall, Dallimore; Walker, Hudson, Martins, Davidson, Bannister, Adamson. Subs: Smith, Duffy, Reid, Thornley.
Tries: Smith 45, 78, Martins 70.
Goals: Johnson 2/ 3.
Referee: Chris Kendall