Sheffield Eagles’ director of rugby Mark Aston pulled no punches in his criticism of his side despite recording a 28-16 success over Batley Bulldogs on Sunday.
The Eagles moved into third place in the Championship after a third win from four outings, but they were made to defend in long spells against a Batley side who didn’t capitalise on their second-half dominance.
The game was in the balance for the majority of the second period until a late try from Quentin Laulu-Togagae ensured victory and maintained their winning start to life at the Keepmoat.
Aston didn’t shy away from the negative aspects of his side’s display which fell below the terrific performances that put paid to London Broncos and Whitehaven in recent weeks.
“It wasn’t great and didn’t meet the standards that we have set in the past few weeks,” he said. “We looked a very shabby and loose team. We never really got going which was disappointing.
“We didn’t manage the game well and we weren’t disciplined, but whilst I have been very critical the most important thing is that the two points are in the bag and I’ll settle for that.”
Aston has now called for his team to get back-to-basics with a long journey to Workington next on the menu, and he hinted at possible changes to his side as they look to keep pace with early pace setters Bradford and Leigh.
“We need to get back to basics, do the simple things right and if we do that we can carry on this momentum,” added Aston.
“As coaches you look for little signs and at half-time I could detect a sign that I didn’t particularly like. We pride ourselves on being a team but at times we looked disjointed. If they don’t sort themselves out then they know what’s coming because you cannot keep winning with performances like that, someone will catch you out.”
“We will move on, we have another tough trip up to Workington on Sunday and we have to do better because that won’t be a easy either.”
The Eagles will be checking on the fitness of hooker James Davey this week after he dislocated a finger against Batley, whilst Michael Knowles continues to make progress after missing Sunday’s clash with a broken bone in his hand.