Sheffield Eagles: Youth outings gave Aston grounds for optimism in Bradford defeat

Sheffield Eagles director of rugby Mark Aston picked out several positives from Sunday’s defeat at Bradford after giving some vital game time to host of youngsters who are out to impress for next season.

Tuesday, 3rd September 2019, 10:18 am
Updated Tuesday, 3rd September 2019, 2:37 pm
Blake Broadbent was handed some valuable minutes in the Eagles' defeat at Bradford

Any faint hopes of a top five finish were ended in the defeat at Odsal, with the Eagles’ cause not helped following prior injury and suspension to the likes of Shaun Pick, Brad Knowles, Ollie Davies and James Davey.

Aston though is looking long term, and used the opportunity to plug the gaps with some of the younger members including Rory Dixon, Blake Broadbent, Lewis Taylor and Sonny Esslemont.

“To lose the likes of Shaun Pick, Brad Knowles and Ollie Davies - it was obviously going to have an impact on us,” Aston explained to The Star.

“We had to reshuffle things, we threw some younger guys into the mix, and they did great in the first half. The likes of Blake Broadbent and Rory Dixon did 50 minutes straight. There are some positives in that respect. They got some more game time. Sonny Esslemont got 80 minutes and he looked very capable in that first 40.”

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With just one more match remaining in the 2019 campaign, Aston will again look to offer his fringe players some game time, as he looks to finalise his roster for next season.

He added: “The most important thing for me is the kids got a run out, and had the chance to experience what it is like to play at this level. We’re looking at developing these guys further, so the game time is crucial.”