Sheffield Eagles director of rugby Mark Aston hailed Friday’s display against Featherstone as the performance of the season following their 35-10 success.
Eagles ended a run of six consecutive defeats, as Aston’s side stunned their lofty opponents with a dominant showing to ease their relegation fears.
With new signing Nathan Chappell making an immediate impact with an assured debut, Eagles finally showed signs of the team that spent the entirety of last season amongst the division’s elite.
Aston admitted his relief at finally ending a run which had shown no signs of abating, and confirmed the performance was close to the standards he has been expecting: “I haven’t seen a performance like that all season,” he told The Star.
“I know that we beat Halifax in the second game, but we could have easily lost comfortably. I was still frightened what I saw defensively. I wasn’t frightened by what I saw on Friday, our attitude stood up.”
Aston has often criticised his side for their defensive fragility and their attitude during games.
Against Featherstone he witnessed a performance which had character, whilst his side also showed the kind of defensive mettle that Aston says has been missing seen since early season.
“Featherstone were on our line on a number of occasions, but we found a way to keep them out,” he added.
“That is the kind of toughness that we showed against Halifax, but it is something that we haven’t had since.
“We still have to fine tune a few things. Our organisation defensively was a lot better, but we have to keep it going.
“It is important now that we take plenty of confidence. We have beaten a side that are potentially top four, we need to take confidence from that.”
Aston will be handed a further boost for Friday’s showdown with Oldham with the availability of Catalans loan duo Stan Robin and Thibaut Margalet.
Eagles will be without George Tyson, expected to be handed a two match ban following his sending off against Swinton and could also be without Michael Knowles who is up before the disciplinary panel for a Grade B offence for throwing an arm in the same game.