Sheffield Eagles must 'smarten up' if they are to avoid the drop

It may have been a vital victory in the fight for Championship survival, but Sheffield Eagles coach Mark Aston says his side's decision making must improve if they are to avoid a nail-biting finish to the season.

By The Newsroom
Tuesday, 17th July 2018, 11:44 am
Updated Tuesday, 17th July 2018, 11:47 am
Mark Aston
Mark Aston

The Eagles looked in a commanding position against Dewsbury before a late collapse, with their narrow victory only secured when Paul Sykes fluffed a conversion attempt with the last kick of the game.

For Aston the late drama should have been avoided, with his side creating, but then wasting, a host of opportunities which kept the Rams within touching distance.

It was the concentration lapses and incorrect decision-making which riled Aston, who admitted it is an aspect of their game that he is a long way from solving.

“We could make it so much easier on ourselves in games,” he conceded.

“It wasn't about our completions, because we completed at 80 odd percent. It was the fact that sometimes we just knock off. We flick the ball around when we shouldn't. Iliess Macani makes a great break but then he throws the ball out. The decision making was wrong. If he would have kicked it there's still a chance but he throws wildly.

“We have too many of those. Matty James was guilty, so was Cory - the latter could have just played it and we would have scored. It was the first tackle. When I ask them, what play would you select to score? The answer is quite simple, 6. Why? Because you are draining their energy. That's the discipline side, where we know that we are miles away with.”

Despite showing his frustrations Aston acknowledged it was the result that mattered, and a crucial result it was. The Eagles moved above Dewsbury in the Championship standings and with the bottom two sides falling to defeat, Aston’s side have now reopened the cushion back to four points.

With the visit of Barrow to the OLP on Sunday presenting a real opportunity to give his side some genuine breathing space, Aston knows that his side cannot afford to miss opportunities if they are to pull further clear.

“We created a lot of chances but our confidence has been knocked,” he added.

“It is the players only who can generate the confidence by doing the things we talk about week in, week out. I have to say though, well done to them because we got there.”