Sheffield Eagles director of rugby Mark Aston has challenged prop Mark Mexico to turn his suspension into a positive after being hit with a four-match ban.
The Papua New Guinea ace sat out the sensational victory over Toulouse, and will also miss Championship fixtures against Halifax, Batley Bulldogs and Hull KR following his Grade D charge for an incident in the game with Oldham. Eagles showed no short-term trauma from his loss after Aston’s side recorded their first victory of the season, starting life at Wakefield’s Belle Vue ground by upsetting the odds to defeat Toulouse.
After successfully using the dual-registration agreement with Leigh to cushion the blow of Mexico’s absence, Aston knows there is no guarantee of repeating the trick as he looks to have every player available in a squad which is thin on numbers.
Aston has encouraged the 27-year-old Mexico to maximise the time available to ensure he makes up for lost time during the unsettled pre-season period.
“We are disappointed with the decision, and Mark is too,” said Aston.
“He has to come back strong. He has missed a chunk of pre-season and needs to start to focus in on coming back and helping the lads achieve what we want to. He is going to have a pretty tough month, but there are others ready to come in.”
Despite the Toulouse win Aston knows his side are still in their infancy as a group. Mexico was one of those providing the much needed continuity after being a regular last season, with Aston frustrated at losing his services.
“It was an ugly tackle but there was no malice or intent,” he added. “They could have been a bit more lenient. We are disappointed but it was expected.”