Sheffield Eagles’ coach Mark Aston is confident his team’s hesitant start to the season will soon be a bad memory.
Only one win in three games has left the defending Championship title-holders languishing in 10th place in the league. But there were positive signs in the storming fight back which took the team to within two points of a win at Halifax.
“The league isn’t won at this time of the season; it’s enough for me that we showed attitude and commitment. We are only going to get better” said Aston. “Halifax was a million miles improvement from where we were. Lots of encouragement and lots of positives but there’s work to do.”
Aston added: “Some of the lads are not hitting the straps yet but it’s still at the beginning of the season, we’re blowing the cobwebs off. We’ve played three games, we had the first game called off and we weren’t quite up to speed for Halifax. We’re still a little bit behind where we want to be.”
There will be a chance to sharpen up when the Eagles play amateurs East Leeds in the third round of the Tetley’s Challenge Cup. New signing USA international centre Lelauloto Tagaloa arrived in the UK last weekend and is set to debut at Owlerton on Sunday.
The game at the New Shay saw both teams score five tries and Halifax just hold on to edge it 30-28 with a penalty proving the margin. The Eagles struggled for early possession with Aston unhappy with some of the refereeing decisions. “The game was spoilt, it was messy, it was slow and at times was a bit like watching paint dry and that’s not down to the players all the time” he said. Injuries have disrupted team selection with Aston giving debuts to reserve forward Alex Palmer and new signing, centre Shaun Squires.
Back row forward Duane Straugheir played his first game of the season but had to come off with a leg injury in the second half. “The new lads both did well and had a real dig,” said Aston.