The unpredictable nature of Sheffield Eagles’ start to the 2016 campaign was again highlighted in Saturday’s defeat to Whitehaven.
Eagles slipped to their first home setback of the season against James Coyle’s strugglers, who showed up the vulnerable side of Mark Aston’s side. The early signs looked positive for Eagles with a convincing victory on the opening day at Workington, followed up by a home success against Halifax.
Despite the early progress there were signals in those initial victories that this side was still a work in progress.
After seemingly making strides with a good showing in defeat to Leigh, Aston is aware that his side are still striving for consistency.
“How close are we to becoming consistent? That is the million dollar question,” Aston said.
“It cannot come quick enough. We need the players to be hitting their straps and that is when we will get the consistency within the team.
“We pick the team but the players need to make sure that we pick them, not only by their performances on the field, but in the training session as well.”
Whitehaven moved within two points of the Eagles, capping a disappointing week for the Yorkshire club after the announcement that they were scrapping their reserve team set-up.
Aston and his staff have now been tasked with working with the professional ranks only, as they quickly look to get an inexperienced group of youngsters up to speed.
Whilst the likes of Dave Hewitt, Elliot Minchella and Matty Fozard have shown flashes of talent, Aston is still looking for the right combination in his line-up.
“We are not in the luxurious position of a Leigh Centurions when we can go out and pick up players like Richard Whiting, who have played so many Super League games,” added Aston.
“We need to develop these players, that’s what I’ve always spoken about. These players are going to get the opportunity and at certain points they have stood up to the mark.”
Eagles have a welcome break from the Kingstone Press Championship this week when they take on Swinton Lions in the Challenge Cup fourth round on Saturday in what will be Aston’s 500th game in charge of the club.