Sheffield Eagles Director of Rugby Mark Aston believes the timing of yesterday’s announcement of released players was best for all parties.
The Eagles confirmed that 10 players would be leaving the club after the Super 8s, despite the season still having four weeks left to run.
With the club going full-time in November, Aston was forced to hold talks earlier than expected, and he believes the uncertainty impacted on the Eagles early Super 8 performances. Now with the news delivered internally before the victory over Halifax, and the subsequent public confirmation, Aston believes his side have their game face on again as they look to end the season on a high.
“Subconsciously it has had an impact because they have been down, but after the victory over Halifax I said welcome back,” Aston said.
“I expected it; they are human beings and I knew they would be affected. It took a couple of weeks to sink in but the response we got against Halifax was immense. We have to be proud of what we have achieved , and the reason we finished third is that we are the third best team in the competition.
“We had some massive performances which showed a lot of character. The likes of Patch Walker and James Davey, two players that will be leaving us, made the right statement, as did several others. It gave us some real momentum to go out and end the Super 8s on a high.”
More news is expected on the rest of Aston’s squad in the coming weeks, with talks continuing with a number of players. Aston believes that the early decision will give his players more time to find themselves new clubs for next season.
“If we had done it in the season I don’t think we would have finished where we have done, if I had done at the end of the season that would have been disrespectful to the players because they have to find other clubs.
“We’ll have a tear at the end of the season, but we will always be friends because I have been honest with them, and they have been honest with me.”