Sheffield Eagles: Aston looking forward to OLP return on articficial surface his men ‘really like to play on’
On their return to the OLP for the first time in nearly a month, Sheffield Eagles director of rugby Mark Aston believes his side have found the right balance to take full advantage of their developing new home.
The Eagles have been playing in a temporary structure for just over a season, with work due imminently to start building the stands around their 3G playing surface.
Last season, his side struggled to turn the OLP into a fortress, but in 2019 the Eagles boast a 100% record on home soil.After three weeks on the road, Aston welcomes a return to the Steel City, claiming his 2019 roster are showing the right characteristics to take advantage of their home surroundings.
He told The Star: “It seems a long time ago since we were here.”We're really looking forward to being back at home and playing on the surface that we really like to play on.
“Luckily against York at the weekend we got a nice pitch.
“The two previous weeks were mud baths.
“I think the boys have realised which they'd prefer to play on now.
“The 3G pitch is much better than the mud.
“They are all looking forward to playing at home, and I think it’ll suit Leigh as well so it should be an entertaining game.
“When you have a pitch like we do, the size of it, it gives you the chance to play quick.
“That also means you have to be able to defend.
“You need to have an attitude towards defending, because there is a lot of ground to cover.
“These guys have certainly stood up and worked hard at that.”
The Eagles are without Jason Crookes (shoulder) and Blake Broadbent (suspension) for the Challenge Cup clash, whilst the Eagles chief also confirmed that there are also doubts over duo Corey Makelim and Paddy Burns.
Aston has already confirmed that he’ll be without dual-registration from London, and has also hinted he could include some of his frunge players who have had limited opportunities so far this season.
He added: “Whoever we put in there this week, with the right attitude, I'm sure they'll be fine.
“I think we are just about clear aside from the known players that are missing.
“Corey Makelim got a bit of a jab on his shoulder the other day, we’ll have a look at him.
“Paddy Burns took a bit of knock, so he'll need to be assessed too.”