Sheffield Eagles go for win No 2

Sheffield Eagles director of rugby Mark Aston says his side must show a repeat of the resolve which produced their first Championship victory of the season, against Rochdale, if they are to make a back-to-back wins against Batley this afternoon (3pm).

Monday, 2nd April 2018, 12:00 am
Mark Aston

The Eagles are seeking another success at their new home at the Olympic Legacy Park, after a vastly-improved showing brought their first points of the season, against the Hornets, following seven straight defeats in all competitions.

Aston says the victory has installed a new belief in his side, as they seek to turn their new home into a fortress.

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“It was a massive boost,” Aston told The Star.

“I have been hard on them. I have challenged them and that won’t change because we want to win and we want to be successful. We are not content with losing.

“We had to change the mentality. The squad has the ability. It is about the mentality. We had that against Rochdale and that will give us confidence against Batley. Batley aren’t the team they were once, so if we can perform, show the resolve, then who knows what can happen. I still believe.”

The Eagles welcome back Ben Blackmore following a one-match ban but Nabil Djalout is missing through injury, with Aston fearing a long lay-off for the Frenchman.

Aston is awaiting news on the availability of dual-registration pair Jake Spedding and Jack Ashworth.

Whatever the personnel, the tweaks Aston made to his side for the visit of Rochdale will certainly stand the Eagles in good stead for the visit of the Bulldogs.

“It was a significant victory,” he added. “We had shown in the first 40 minutes at Barrow that we were capable. I was quite critical with what I said about our attitude second half at Barrow, but against Rochdale we showed some resolve and went on to win the game.

“I talked about fronting up, which we did. We got into the physical battle, which was pleasing. I saw plenty of positives in our backline, with Ryan Millar moving to the wing and Matty Costello at full-back, and then up front the big lads were great too.

“Matty James stood up again, like he has all season, Matty Fozard was great and the likes of Shaun Pick and Oliver Davies really stood up, so I was delighted with them all. It was a good all round performance with a lot of players playing towards the top end of their ability.”