Director of rugby Mark Aston is facing an early selection headache ahead of the Championship curtain raiser at Workington Town on Sunday.
After a busy close season, Aston is readying his troops for the trip to Cumbria as the Eagles look to hit the ground running in their first season back as a full-time outfit.
The majority of Aston’s squad reported back for training in November as the Eagles’ supremo looked to knit together a new team which included 10 new faces. After a convincing victory over Dewsbury in their only pre-season outing, coupled with a competitive edge to training, Aston admits it will be tough to select a team for Derwent Park.
“It is going to be tough to pick a starting 13, and tough to select a 17 from this group” he said. “We have a tough task now as coaches to get it right because it is a hard start. There are plenty of players in the squad who are versatile and can cover a number of positions. The likes of Minichella, Tyson, Blackmore etc, there are plenty of players who can move around and that’s good because it gives you options. We now have to try and pick a team.”
Aston is looking to put the finishing touches to his squad with a half-back still right at the top of his shopping list.
Red tape prevented a move for Aussie Beau Henry, and Aston has been looking elsewhere as he looks to add the final pieces to the Eagles’ jigsaw.
Despite being foiled in his quest to add some experience to his half-back options, the 48-year-old has been impressed with young duo Dave Hewitt and Cory Aston, who both excelled in the victory over Dewsbury.
“For young half backs I thought Dave and Cory looked after the team well at Dewsbury,” Aston added. “Dave is 19, Cory is 20, but at times they have looked class acts and these lads will only grow in confidence. Dave has tremendous skills, his kicking game is good and he is certainly one for the future, but also one for the here and now.”
Following Sunday’s showdown at Workington, Eagles host Halifax on February 12.