Sheffield Eagles: Aston’s men push the tempo for play-off run

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Sheffield Eagles have rediscovered the high tempo rugby coach Mark Aston believes can take them to a fourth consecutive Grand Final.

It had them dominating the second play-off round before a red card for Doncaster’s Liam Cunningham ended the game as a contest.

“The start of the game we were outstanding and played with tempo and that was the plan,” said Aston. “We needed to play high intensity rugby and we did it. The sending off did have an impact on Doncaster but we were well in control of the game by then.”

The 58-14 win booked a trip to Featherstone Rovers in the semi-finals as Eagles bid to retain the Championship title they have won in the past two seasons. The winner will face either Leigh or Dewsbury in the final.

Aston has continued his rebuilding for next season with the signing of Australian front row forward Steve Thorpe on a one-year deal.

The 24-year-old has played more than 100 games for Eastern Suburbs Tigers in the Queensland Cup competition.

Aston is likely to add a further player to the 2015 squad later this week with a “headline” signing hinted at.

Meanwhile no Eagles’ player has made the short-list for the Championship dream team. Doncaster’s Paul Cooke – who Aston has praised as the outstanding figure in the competition – is nominated for awards as a player and coach.

Former Eagles hooker Pat Smith, now at York, is in the running for Championship One player of the year award.