Sheffield Eagles: Don’t take your place for granted, Aston warns players

Sheffield Eagles' Mark Mexico. Picture: Andrew Roe
Sheffield Eagles' Mark Mexico. Picture: Andrew Roe
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Director of rugby Mark Aston has laid down a marker to his Sheffield Eagles squad, with some facing a last opportunity to maintain their place in the side.

After losing a number of players to injury and suspension, coupled with a limited number from dual-registration partners Leigh Centurions in recent weeks, Aston’s already thin squad was cut to the bare bones for the trip to Hull KR.

With little room for manoeuvre in team selection, the Eagles chief was forced to use virtually the same group of players at Craven Park, but with the likes of Mark Mexico set for a return this weekend, Aston has promised to make changes as he looks to cut out the indiscipline on the field which cost his side so dearly.

“We were down to the last 17 on Sunday,” Aston told The Star.

“That’s a position where some people will look and know it doesn’t matter what they do, the consequences aren’t there because they will play again next week. That’s something that frustrates me.

“But Mark Mexico is back this week, Jordan Cox isn’t far away, so I have some option to take players out.

“It is about discipline and respect. Respect for the coaches and respect for each other. Some of the penalties were really poor, and players have to be held accountable. The way to do that is to take them out, and that is the next step for us. Can we get one or two players in? That could sort the problem out.”

Whilst Aston conceded that his side played well for 30 minutes in the first-half, the defeat to the unbeaten pace setters leaves the Eagles with just two points from five rounds of the Championship season.

Aston has now challenged his side to improve their discipline for Sunday’s visit of Featherstone, who lost for the first time this season against Rochdale last weekend.

“We challenged them from the first kick off and for 30 minutes we were justifiably in front,” Aston added.

“We let ourselves down by making mistakes in the second half and being indisciplined. We started well, but as we well know there is no point playing well for 30 minutes, and not the rest. For me the second half was unacceptable, it was back to the norm. We gave away a lot of cheap penalties, and we cannot afford to make that mistake again.”