Sheffield Eagles’ defensive prowess excites Mark Aston

Director Mark Aston says his side’s defensive attitude laid the foundations for another convincing victory, as Sheffield Eagles made it two wins from two over Easter.

Monday, 22nd April 2019, 9:41 pm
Updated Tuesday, 23rd April 2019, 1:31 pm
Terence Crawford, right, punches England's Amir Khan during the fifth round of a WBO world welterweight championship boxing match Sunday, April 21, 2019, in New York. Crawford won the fight.

Aston said after the Good Friday success against highly-fancied Toulouse that all the good work would be undone if they didn’t get a result at lowly Rochdale, but his side rose to the challenge with an impressive showing at Spotland.

Eagles bagged 96 points over Easter, but it was the defensive side of their game that impressed Aston the most, as his troops came under severe pressure in the opening quarter against the Hornets before easing clear.

Aston said: “The pleasing thing is that Rochdale were quite dominant in the first 25 minutes, but yet they only scored one try. We have scored nearly 100 points over the Easter period, which takes some doing, but defensively our attitude has been spot on. Our attitude to our defence in that first period was first class. Just at the right time, when they started to fade, we injected the quality and the pace that we know we have.

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“We racked up a few late tries in the first-half, and we went about our business in the second-half in the right manner.”

Aston has had to use his squad last weekend, with the likes of Sonny Esslemont, Rory Dixon, Blake Broadbent, Greg Burns and Shaun Pick – generally fringe players so far this season - all coming to the fore at some stage over the Easter double-header.

Aston has largely been without dual-registration from London Broncos, but the Super League outfit did make Ben Hellewell available for the game at Rochdale, with the centre bagging a brace of tries.

Ben Blackmore and James Glover also helped themselves to two tries each, as Aston’s improving outfit cruised to another Championship victory with another clinical display.

Aston continued: “I am delighted with them because it puts down another marker to what we are about. Defensively in the second-half, we only let one try through, and that was only in the last minute. The lads have had a tough weekend, but we have come away with two wins from two, which is pretty special I guess. I am really pleased with them.”

The Eagles host Halifax this Sunday at the Olympic Legacy Park.