Sheffield Eagles chief Mark Aston admits his side failed to match the enthusiasm of Batley Bulldogs after a disappointing defeat at Mount Pleasant.
The Eagles slipped to their first defeat of the 2016 Kingstone Press Championship season after a dogged Batley outfit once again showed they will be a force to be reckoned with this season.
Aston’s side join fellow full-timers Leigh Centurions in coming unstuck against the Bulldogs, who were inspired by former Eagles favourite Dominic Brambani after he ran in two tries.
Aston was honest in his assessment of his side’s failings and couldn’t hide his frustration at the Eagles’ performance.
“I’m bitterly disappointed with our effort,” Aston told The Star.
“I have to say from minute one to minute 80 we were out enthused and we were out muscled. That frustrates me because we have got a pack of forwards who should not be dominated.
“Batley really wanted it and were willing to dig in. That doesn’t surprise me, John (Kear) always gets his teams up for the battle and he always has done. They deserved it.
“We had a plan but from minute one I was questioning what we were doing and where we were going. There are people who need to be held responsible for that and they will be.”
Conditions in West Yorkshire were far from ideal with driving rain and gusts not helping the Eagles’ cause, but Aston refuted any notion that it had an impact on his side.
“I am not looking for any excuses regarding the conditions,” he said honestly.
“They played in it, so did we and simply we just weren’t good enough. There were a lot of people in that dressing room who need to be looking and then answering questions. That’s certainly what we will be doing. We will be looking back over that performance and analysing it.”
The Eagles were dealt a further blow in the second half with debutant Garry Lo leaving the field with a dislocated shoulder.
Lo had replaced Rob Worrincy in the side but the Eagles chief revealed that the switch was not due to any injury to the former Halifax winger.
Meanwhile, Aston has said he expects a response from trialist Rhys Jacks ‘in the next few days’ after the Eagles offered a deal to sign the Canadian international.