Sheffield Eagles: Gap between Championship’s haves and have-nots does not surprise Aston

Mark Aston
Mark Aston
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The current divide between the top and bottom the Betfred Championship has come as no surprise to Eagles coach Mark Aston.

Big-spending Toronto Wolfpack lead the way going into a break from the league action this weekend, with some familiar names in hot pursuit.

At the other end of the spectrum, the rest of the league are already struggling to hang onto the top five, with the Eagles one of a clutch of sides already seemingly facing a fight against relegation.

The divide between the upper and lower echelons is no shock to Aston, who confirmed the level of investment amongst the division’s elite has shown through results on the pitch.

“When you invest the money that some of the clubs in this league have, you’d expect there to be a divide,” the Eagles director of rugby explained.

“There are four or five teams up there, the likes of Toulouse, Toronto, London and Leigh - they are all full-time.

“They are getting more in one day than we get in a week.

“Some of those teams may be paying one or two players more than we are paying our entire squad.

“There is a divide and that’s expected.”

After a tough start left the Eagles rooted to the foot of the table, Aston’s side rallied with victories over Rochdale and Swinton.

Despite showing signs of improvement, a heavy defeat against big-hitters Leigh Centurions has left the Eagles just outside the relegation places.

The Eagles chief has admitted that his side are in a fight to stay in the division, but with the likes of Barrow and Dewsbury within striking distance, the race for survival could yet go further than the bottom three sides.

“What we are doing is being realistic,” Aston added.

“We are fighting at that bottom end, there is no doubt about that.

“We are fighting for our survival, and that is important for people to understand.

“It is hard, it is tough.

“We have plenty of things off the field going in the right direction, and some things that we need support for.

“There is certainly a scrap on at the bottom end of the Championship and we just need to make sure that we survive and that is the key.”

Meanwhile, former Eagles full-back Quentin Laulu-Togagae has joined Halifax after his departure from Toronto.

The Eagles have a break from league action this weekend, before the crucial trip to Rochdale on April 29.