Director of Rugby Mark Aston described Sunday’s 53-34 defeat at Super League’s Salford Red Devils as Sheffield Eagles’ best performance of the Super 8s.
The Eagles were heavy underdogs at the AJ Bell Stadium but they gave Salford several scares before victory was finally assured for the Super League outfit with two tries in the last five minutes.
At one stage the Eagles were 12 points in front as Aston’s side matched their lofty opponents with some of their most exciting free-flowing rugby of the season.
With the final two games back in the Steel City to come, Aston believes his side showed their best performance to date, with more Super League opposition to follow in the shape of Hull KR this Friday night.
“That’s our best performance because the lads expressed themselves, they had a smile on their faces and they enjoyed it,” Aston beamed.
“I am obviously proud of the commitment and the effort because on paper it is a tough game against a Super League team, and nobody expects us to do anything. We had a plan building up to the game, and the lads executed that plan very well. I was immensely proud of them with the ball in the hand, but defensively there is still some fragility there and that guts me because we work so hard and then let some soft tries in.”
Despite taking a Super League team all the way Aston admitted that he couldn’t help but feel disappointed, as the Eagles came close to landing what would have been the shock result of the Super 8s so far.
“Overall I am little bit disappointing because I really think we could have won the game,” Aston added.
“Second half we took the game straight back to them which is credit to our boys, and our completion rates were very high. We ran at 90+ percent which always gives you a chance, but unfortunately the end of our sets were poor. Our kicking game, building pressure and challenging them wasn’t great.”
Meanwhile, Aston has not confirmed reports stating that the Eagles have signed Papua New Guinea prop Mark Mexico from Newcastle Thunder. Reports circulated that the 26-year-old would be joining the Eagles for next season, but whilst Aston admitted he has held talks, a deal has not been finalised and he has now returned to PNG to consider his options.