Mark Aston hailed his side’s performance after Sheffield Eagles bagged a narrow victory at Swinton – despite the absence of several key performers.
Simon Brown’s drop goal two minutes from time edged a tight encounter and gave the Eagles their second victory of the season.
Aston, the Eagles director of rugby, was without influential skipper Matty James, winger Garry Lo and centre Josh Toole, but his side did just enough leaving the long-serving coach giving a nod pof approval to an all-round team display.
“I’m immensely proud that the boys showed up, especially with the likes of Matty James, Garry Lo, Josh Toole and Oliver Davies out,” Aston told The Star.
“To grind that result out with a lot of people missing was massive for me.
“I have to credit them for the first 40 minutes defensively. They took two from a penalty but after that we didn’t concede in that first half.
“To get in at half-time in that position was impressive. It was massive for us.
“We had to hang on in the end.
“We have a lot of young players in our side, and I didn’t get the chance to put young Blake Broadbent on, it wouldn’t have been fair on him to throw him on late in the game.
“Were we under the pump before the game? Yes, we lost Matty James who has been our most consistent performer so for him to be out, and then a number of others jumping up to be counted is something that we can take forward.”
Castleford loanee Lo missed out through sickness, whilst James wasn’t risked with a knee problem. Toole is serving the first of a two match ban.
In their absence, a brace from Ben Blackmore and a score from Ilies Macani helped the Eagles to victory, with Aston also reserving praise for his quartet on dual-registration from St Helens.
“Look at the lads from Saints,” he added.
“They were outstanding again. Matty Lees, who has been playing Super League this season in spells of 20 minutes, he did 80 minutes for me. Jack Ashworth got through 80 minutes, James Bentley and Matty Costello the same. Those lads were instrumental, but then Ben Blackmore, Shaun Pick, Jon Magrin - they were excellent as well. They all came up with a performance that we needed.”
The Eagles moved out of the bottom two with the win, moving above Rochdale in the Championship standings.