Sheffield Eagles director Mark Aston believes the recent difficult decision to recall James Davey underlines the competition for places in his in-form squad.
Davey missed the victory over Bradford with a hamstring injury, but was pressed back into service for victory against Batley – despite replacement Greg Burns coming in for praise from Aston after an impressive showing in Davey’s absence.
Davey, a former Batley player who has returned to the Steel City during the close season, set the bar high with his displays against Swinton and Barrow.
But Burns, and utility ace Corey Makelim, gave Aston what he wanted during the home success against Bradford, answering some important questions for the Eagles chief before his difficult decision to bring back Davey.
“It was a really tough call on Greg Burns because he was great against Bradford,” Aston told The Star.
“I was concerned that we'd struggle without Jimmy Davey but we didn't. Corey Makelim and Greg Burns did some great work against Bradford. They stood up to the test and it did give me a tough call when it came around for Batley.”
Aston acknowledged that Davey didn’t show up at his best on his return, with Burns not included amongst the 17.
The Eagles though, again showed their character to recover from a tough start to run home comfortable winners after a sterling second-half showing.
Another test lies in wait with a trip to Featherstone on the horizon this Sunday, with Davey likely to play, but knowing there is pressure on for the number nine jersey.
“It was very harsh on Greg, and Jimmy wasn't at his best against Batley,” Aston maintained.
“Jimmy wanted to play, we gave him the nod and by his own standards, he wasn't great. He needed to get back, and get over the injury, and we knew he might have been a little rusty. He was playing really well before the injury, so we all know what he is capable of.
“It was a really tough call on Greg Burns because he was great against Bradford. This is great though, the competition is fierce. Shaun Pick is out at the moment because Blake Broadbent is playing really well. People want to play, players are getting challenged and if there are some that aren't hitting their mark then we have players who will come in and take the shirt.”