Sheffield Eagles director of rugby Mark Aston conceded that Sunday’s hammering at Bradford Bulls was not a surprise.
The Eagles came within eight points of equalling their record defeat after Bradford put 80 points past Aston’s side to cap a difficult week for the club.
With their off the field troubles clearing weighing heavy on their shoulders, the Eagles capitulation didn’t surprise coach Aston who admitted that the club’s precarious position behind the scenes had a major impact on his side’s performance.
“You don’t need to be Einstein to work out it has been a pretty tough week for us,” he said.
“I have to say that I feared that could happen to us, and that just wasn’t me saying that. I spoke to a few people over the last couple of days and they asked me what I thought and I did think it would be tough.
“It was quite evident to see what has happened to us, it wasn’t great and the boys are battered, sore and a bit down after that. That was not a normal Sheffield Eagles sort of team.”
The Eagles weren’t helped by a poor start with the hosts running in two early tries which set the tone for a tough 80 minutes.
Knowing his side required an early lift, Aston admitted that the writing was on the wall early doors as Bradford set their stall out for a big score.
“I think the first try was down to an individual not doing his job,” Aston added.
“The second try was an absolute disgrace because I am telling you that the pass was at least five yards forward. That did infuriate me because I didn’t need that after the week we have had.
“I needed them to keep digging for as long as we could but that really killed us there and then. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t think that could happen to us, it is not a normal performance from any team that I have coached, but then circumstances aren’t normal either.”
After defeat in West Yorkshire, the Eagles have now concluded their regular Championship Shield fixtures. They face a semi-final clash with Halifax at The Shay next weekend, whilst Bradford host Dewsbury in the other semi-final.
There is very real possibility of the Eagles facing Bradford again at Odsal should both sides come through their semi-finals.