How Sheffield Eagles plan to continue impressive Betfred Championship start against York City Knights

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Sheffield Eagles head coach Mark Aston is confident his team can spring a surprise in the Betfred Championship this season after an impressive start.

The Eagles will take on York City Knights on Sunday evening (7.30pm kick-off) full of confidence following their 50-12 demolition of Bradford Bulls on the opening day, which saw them top the table after round one.

The game, which will be played at York’s brand-new 8,000-seat stadium – albeit behind closed doors – is also a chance for Aston’s side to reverse the 6-30 loss they suffered when the teams met in last month’s Challenge Cup first round.

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Asked how they can improve their fortunes this time round, he replied: “Work hard. We have the work ethic that we have got. We defend like we did against Bradford, with an attitude and a resilience and we challenge them and worry about ourselves because what we are talking about is us getting the things right that we want to get right.

Izaac Farrell of Sheffield Eagles breaks away past Joe Brown of Bradford Bulls.Izaac Farrell of Sheffield Eagles breaks away past Joe Brown of Bradford Bulls.
Izaac Farrell of Sheffield Eagles breaks away past Joe Brown of Bradford Bulls.

"If we get that then we can be a team that people are looking at saying ‘Where have they come from?’”

The Eagles impressed during the opening 20 minutes of their first competitive match in 370 days against York but fell away as the contest wore on. Still, there was clear improvement two weeks later against Bradford as they crossed the line no fewer than 10 times.

Aston said: “I have always believed that we could have a really good season but it’s not built on one game. We need to show week after week that we are hardened to it.”

“The challenge for us it to reproduce."

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Despite an impressive performance and result, which raised eyebrows among many outside the team’s bubble, there has been no let up for the Eagles players during another two-week gap between fixtures.

Aston said: "You want to keep the momentum going but we’ve still got a bit of rust in us, we’ve still got a bit of work to do. The boys are in fine shape but we want to fine tune what we are about.

"There’s a few bumps and bruises because of the longevity of time we have had off that will need a couple of weeks to repair."

York lost 21-6 to Toulouse Olympique on the Championship’s opening weekend.