Aston demands Eagles shore up defence

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GRIM determination, an ability to dig in and not concede points is keeping Sheffield Eagles in the race for a Championship play-off place.

Their mean defence was back to smooth running in the 40-12 win over Dewsbury Rams - the third game in a row they kept the opposition to only two tries. That’s sure to be tested again when the Eagles face Toulouse Olympique in France on Saturday.

“It was a great win and we’ll have to be strong in defence again at Toulouse,” said coach Mark Aston. “In the first 15 minutes against Dewsbury we were sloppy and made mistakes but the lads’ attitude, desire and commitment was outstanding. We were on the back foot but the try line defence was absolutely outstanding and that’s why we kept Dewsbury to nil at half-time – that shows a quality team.

“In the second half we were a bit better but again were sloppy at times but we only let in a couple of tries and on the back of that defence we get the results we do.”

The win gives Eagles a grip on fourth place – three points behind Batley Bulldogs with a game in hand at the season’s mid-way point.

Hooker Andrew Henderson played a key role against Dewsbury using his experience to keep the team focused as they took back control and moved into a half time 18-0 lead. Aston added: “Hendo’s an outstanding player. His attitude is the best and he trains hard. I can’t speak more highly of what he is doing for some of the younger players in the team – his attitude is certainly rubbing off on them.”

Eagles go into games at Toulouse and Widnes Vikings with 22 points from 10 games.