Sheffield Eagles director of rugby Mark Aston says his side found inspiration from the rugby league press’ pre-season predictions following their sensational victory over Toulouse.
The Eagles made a winning start to life at their temporary home at Wakefield’s Belle Vue, by dispatching one of the Championship’s fancied teams, who went into the contest on a huge high following their opening day demolition of Batley Bulldogs.
Following months of turmoil behind the scenes, the Eagles have been widely tipped to struggle after Aston only finalised his squad days before the season curtain raiser against Oldham.
One rugby league media outlet even predicted that Aston’s exiles would finish bottom of the pile, with the Eagles chief insisting that lowly expectations from the outside were the shot in the arm that his side were looking for.
“We spoke at the team meeting and it was brought to light that everyone is predicting us to be relegated this year,” Aston told The Star.
“That’s great news isn’t it? Thank you very much, we intend to prove everyone wrong, and we have started now.
“We have never been relegated before and I don’t intend to do it this year. Thanks for all those people for giving us the inspiration to dig a little bit deeper, and put that little bit more into what we do to prove everyone wrong.
“The extra effort will be for all those who have doubted that this year Sheffield Eagles won’t be good enough. We’ll make sure you eat your words.”
The Eagles again used their dual registration to great effect with Leigh trio Lachlan Burr, Jamie Acton and Sam Hopkins bolstering a squad which was cobbled together late in the day.
Aston had warned the hearty band of supporters who made the commute to Wakefield not to expect too much too soon, but the Eagles flock will take great heart from a display which will surely send a message to the rest of the Championship.
It would seem that the Eagles have taken instantly to their new surroundings, and whilst it isn’t Sheffield, Aston welcomed the temporary home for the 2017.
“We were really looking forward to playing here and for me the game couldn’t have come quickly enough,” he added.
“Obviously we are playing at Wakefield so we are out of the city, but it is a great traditional ground that people will enjoy watching rugby league from.”