Sheffield Eagles coach Mark Aston was in no mood to criticise his players after they battled through three tough games in 10 days.
The Eagles hung on for a narrow 20-18 win at Barrow Raiders to keep their two-point lead at the top of the Championship.
Aston admitted it wasn’t the best performance for the team that has now stretched their winning run to 10 games.
“I think after the game they thought I was going to rip into them but I just said ‘Well done and walked out of the changing room’,” he said.
“Barrow made us work for the win. It was always going to be tough, it’s never easy coming up to Cumbria and respect to Barrow, they put in a really strong performance.”
Samoan international fullback Quentin Laulu-Togagae scored a first half hat-trick of tries to bring his total for the season to 21.
“The difference between the teams was QLT (Laulu-Togagae), as easy as that,” added Aston. “It’s nice when you have that little bit of the X- factor and have a player who can do the things he does.”
Eagles had beaten Barrow in the league and the Rail Cup, and Aston felt the Raiders had been stung by that.
They had a bit of pride and wanted to make amends. Before the game somebody in the crowd said to me: ‘You’ll have it easy today’. I said: ‘No not at all, it’ll be tough’.
“We weren’t great but we won the game – we just need to keep winning. We’ve had three games in 10 days and we looked a tired and lethargic sort of team. We didn’t play with any tempo or structure and were dragged down to the slowness of the game.
“When you’re top of the league you’re a target and teams raise their game.”
Aston plans to reward the players with a light training session tonight as the build up to the home game against Whitehaven next Sunday starts.
“We need to get a bit of rehab, readjust a few things and have a good week in training, not so tense and a bit more low key,” he said.
n Catalan Dragons scrum-half Scott Dureau appeared to be fine after a fresh health scare during his side’s Super League draw at Widnes.
The Australian, in his second match since surgery to remove a tumour behind an eye, was taken to hospital after complaining of double vision.
Dureau, 26, had been lining up a shot at goal in the 60th minute when he needed to sit down and he fell as he tried to get up again. Dureau later tweeted: “Thanks everyone for the msgs. Had a full check up and looks to be nothing too serious. Hopefully be sweet in a week or 2.”