The enforced changes had an impact on team mentality says Sheffield Eagles director of rugby Mark Aston who is again left patching up his injury-hit squad.
After losing the likes of Simon Brown, James Bentley and Josh Toole to injury at Rochdale, coupled with Cory Aston’s return to parent club Castleford, Aston is again down on numbers in key positions.
Sunday’s home defeat to Halifax again underlined what can happen when the Eagles are not at full strength, as skipper Matty James and the influential Matty Fozard also picked up knocks during a disappointing day for Aston’s side.
The Eagles chief says the changes brought about a different mentality to his side, having no complaints after the Eagles lost any chance of victory following a disappointing first-half showing.
“I think that the game was dead and buried at the break and that Halifax had put their cue on the rack for the second-half,” was Aston’s honest assessment to The Star.
“It was a different team and with that was a different mentality. We lost Cory Aston, we lost Simon Brown - those two are big losses.
“We wanted to build on the Rochdale result but we have got to that point again when we start letting ourselves down.
“We were a little bit better in the second-half, but the overriding feeling is that we haven’t competed.
“You don’t have to be the best player in the world to compete.
“We just have this softness in us that keeps surfacing and smacking us in the chops.”
The Eagles did give a debut to the returning Paddy Burns, one of few highlights for Aston who must pick his side up for back-to-back games against high-flying London Broncos.
Youngster Burns impressed and with injuries striking again, it could lead to an extended run for the ex-Castleford prospect.
“Paddy Burns came straight in and had a real dig for us,” Aston adds.
“I think he’ll only get better with that. We lost Matty James early on with his knee again, we lost Fozzy too so we are busted up and we are struggling.
“We got beat by a team that are a lot better than us, that wanted it more than us, ran with more purpose and hit with more purpose.
“I can’t complain much about it, we are not where we need to be.”