SHEFFIELD Eagles ability to ‘win ugly’ when under pressure has been praised by coach Mark Aston.
Uncompromising defence saw them protect a 16-point lead to extend their winning run in the league to five games.
“Cups aren’t always won with flowing rugby – you can’t always play champagne rugby,” Aston said.
“You need mental strength and we were strong. Yes, we didn’t do a lot with the ball but credit to Keighley defensively they were in our faces and frustrating us. You have to take the rough with the smooth and I’m really happy that we were so strong in defence against a good team who put us under pressure.”
Eagles scored all their points in the first 23 minutes but denied Keighley a try until eight minutes from the final hooter to win 16-6.
“The game was slow and messy,” Aston added. “That was the way Keighley tried to play the game, slow it down and draw us into a scrap. That’s what they are about but we are disciplined enough not to get involved with that.
The win lifts the Eagles into third place in the Championship two points clear of Batley who had to settled fro losing bonus points in a 31-28 defeat at Featherstone. Eagles don’t have a game next week giving them extra time to prepare for a crucial trip to second-placed Halifax.
Aston said: “There were massive positives against Keighley. Scott Turner was outstanding. Mitch Stringer, Michael Knowles, Jack Howieson, Alex Szostak all very good. There are a few bruises after a tough game but we’re back in for training and can start building up for Halifax.”