Sheffield Eagles: We’ll miss Matty James’ leadership admits Mark Aston
It isn’t just the impact of what he brings as a player, but Sheffield Eagles are losing some vital leadership qualities following the news skipper Matty James will miss the rest of the season.
Director of rugby Mark Aston is under no illusions just how crucial James, and centre James Glover, have been to the success of his side this season, and knows it will be a tough task to replace the injured pair.
Glover is expected to be out for a year with severe knee ligament damage, whilst James suffered tibular and ankle injuries - both in the victory against Barrow at the Summer Bash.
Aston has often stated James is the inspiration in the dressing room, and says his presence was missing at the interval during Friday’s defeat to Toronto.
“It was a blow to lose them, obviously,” Aston told The Star.
“Glover has been outstanding for us this year. He has been immense, it is a big blow and he'll be hard to replace.
“Matty James the same, he is a leader of men. When I was looking for someone at half-time to get into the lads, he wasn't there. That's the thing that we'll also miss. We've had a couple of tough years, and he has been part of that.
“This year is looking a lot better, and he deserves to be part of this. For him to be out, it is sad for him and we are going to miss him massively.”
Barrow pair Lewis Charnock and Jono Smith have both been charged with the season-ending tackles, with Charnock in particular facing a lengthy ban for the crude challenge on Glover.
Aston is now looking at the rest of his squad to stand up and replace the duo, and has pointed to a number of his promising youngsters who now have an opportunity to stake a claim for a regular place.
Blake Broadbent did his chances no harm whatsoever with a confident display against Toronto.
That game also saw a return for the experienced Jason Crookes who is back after a shoulder issue.
Aston added: “We have got two of our star players out now for a long time, but we have some players here who will get an opportunity to come in.
“People like Blake Broadbent will get a chance. I thought he was great against Toronto. He came into a tough gig and came out with credit. That's what we need from the young kids.”