Sheffield Eagles director of rugby Mark Aston was left to rue his side’s failure to press home a positive start after a heavy defeat against Leigh Centurions.
During their previous visit a fortnight ago, the Eagles put up a spirited fight which saw Aston’s side take a half-time lead before the Centurions fought back to claim victory in the second-half.
This time around the match looked to be taking on a similar pattern with the Eagles more than a match for the former Super League outfit, with very little between the sides during the opening quarter at the Leigh Sports Village.
The Eagles had opportunities to stay with the hosts but the floodgates opened after the 23rd minute, as Leigh turned on the style.
Aston was disappointed that his side couldn’t press on from their early progress, insisting that the same old habits which have dogged the Eagles this season were again evident during another frustrating visit to Lancashire.
“I am disappointed to be fair,” he said.
“We set off the game with a little bit of purpose, with a little bit of intent and then after 20 minutes the flag came up again, which has happened too much this season for my liking.
“We got taught a lesson. Are they just playing for pride? We were lacking in that area if I am honest. We expect more from the lads.
"They had players to come back in, they still have top quality. That's the problem, they still have some very good players there."
The Eagles registered a consolation try during the second-half through an impressive effort from Irish international centre Josh Toole. Toole, along with dual-registration ace James Bentley impressed for the Eagles, but it wasn’t enough as Aston watched his side ship 60 points in their first outing since the break for the end of the regular season.
The Eagles were again missing influential winger Ben Blackmore as well as Jon Magrin, whilst St Helens regular Matty Costello featured for his parent club in their fixture against Huddersfield Giants on Friday night.
The plus for Aston came elsewhere as the Championship’s bottom pair, Swinton and Rochdale, were both beaten as the six-point cushion between the Eagles and the relegation trap-door remained intact.
Aston’s side face a big game against the Lions next Sunday, with Aston acutely aware that a victory for his side would take them tantalising close to Championship survival and virtually condemn Swinton to relegation.