Aston happy with squad balancing act in busy run

Sheffield Eagles director of rugby Mark Aston feels he has got the balance right as he welcomes back a host of fresh faces for their third game in quick succession against in-form Featherstone tomorrow.

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 06 June, 2019, 21:13
Greg Burns is likely to miss the Eagles’ clash with Featherstone

Aston has had to be careful in his team selections over recent games as he looks to navigate his troops through the most congested stage of the 2019 season.

The Eagles chief made several changes from the side which slipped to defeat in the league against Widnes, as he guided his troops into the quarter-final stage of the 1895 Cup with a midweek victory over Halifax.

He is expected to change it up again for the visit of Featherstone, with Ben Hellewell, Jacob Ogden and Nathan Mason expected to be available from London, whilst Warrington loanee Pat Moran is also due to return.

Aston told The Star: “I think we have got it right, we used Wednesday to give some of the other lads an opportunity. We didn't use loan or dual-reg players midweek, so they'll come back in and give us something extra.

“We'll probably get Hellewell, Ogden and Mason. James Meadows has tweaked his hamstring so he's not fit, so it'll be three most probably from London. We have a few fresh people which we need.”

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Aston confirmed hooker Greg Burns is a major doubt after suffering an ankle injury in the victory over Halifax, whilst Brad Knowles is fighting to be fit following a back problem.

But the Eagles supremo is pleased with the way his players have shared the fixture burden with several seasoned performers taken out of the firing line for long periods on Wednesday night.

He added: “Greg Burns has twisted his ankle in the win over Halifax so he is going to be a big doubt for the weekend. Aside from that there is nothing too severe. We are hopeful Brad Knowles will be back from his back problem, and then we'll also welcome Pat Moran back into the squad.

“We were fortunate against Halifax that we were able to take Anthony Thackeray and James Davey off, we also reduced Joel Farrell's game time, so we managed to take a few out of the firing line to keep them fresh.

“It is a big game off the back of a couple of poor performances against Toronto and Widnes, so we need to manage the group appropriately and pick the side we feel can win the game.”