It will take time for Sheffield Eagles to gel says chief Mark Aston

Mark Aston
Mark Aston
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Sheffield Eagles director of rugby Mark Aston is keeping his side’s early progress in perspective after Sunday’s defeat at Halifax.

Aston’s new look group looked to be a real force in round two as they became the only side so far to topple Toulouse, but they were brought back down to earth by a 42-16 defeat at The Shay.

The result and performance over Toulouse may have lifted expectations in some quarters, but Aston has always stressed it would take time for his side to reach their potential after playing catch up throughout pre-season.

The Eagles chief believes there needs to be a ‘degree of realism’ surrounding his side’s progression, as the Eagles continue to strive for consistency.

“I have spoken about the situation that we are in, but we are working really hard to gel,” Aston told The Star.

“There is no substitute for time being spent together and understanding each other. There has to be a degree of realism, and I think there is. I think that the fans know and I respect that.”

After defeat in the opening round of the season to Oldham, the Eagles are still in a transitional phase after bringing in 10 new signings, plus the addition of players from Leigh Centurions under their dual-registration agreement.

Eagles have secured the services of Lachlan Burr for all of their Championship fixtures, whilst Sam Hopkins, Jamie Acton and latterly Dayne Weston have all come into the Eagles flock in recent weeks.

With all the newcomers coming into the melting pot, Aston says they are still striving for top gear, but has no concerns over the long term future of his squad.

“It can’t come quick enough for us, we are working hard to put the wrongs right and we will certainly get stronger,” Aston added.

“In all the games that we have played you can see commitment, you can see that there is pride in the shirt and when you don’t get that you know that is the time when you are in trouble. We are not in trouble. There is plenty if fight here at this club.”

Aston says he will still look to strengthen his side which was boosted at the weekend by the return of long-serving Duane Straugheir who was a late try scorer in Sunday’s defeat.

The defeat leaves the Eagles with two points from their opening three games, and they host Batley next at Belle Vue on Sunday (3pm).