Sheffield Eagles director of rugby Mark Aston says now is the time for youngster Ryan Millar to stamp his mark on their troublesome full-back position.
Aston confirmed that Toronto ace Reece Dean won’t be returning to the club because of injury, and has now turned to Millar to help fill the void left by Quentin Laulu-Togagae. Despite some teething problems, Aston is confident that the Academy product is starting to warm to the task, hailing some of his recent progress in what is a completely new position for the 22-year-old.
“I thought that Ryan had his best game of the season recently against London” Aston said. “He looked like he was starting to understand the role of playing full-back, that is good signs for him and for us. Ryan has the ability and the physical attributes to be a very good full-back. What he needs to do is build his understanding of the role, learn and improve.”
Aston has been working hard on an individual basis to convert the winger, who shot on to the scene with a number of eye-catching performances over the past 18 months.
Whilst the Birmingham-born speedster faces stiff competition for a spot on the wing, Eagles have few options at full-back with Dane Chisholm currently out of favour, and Dean returning to his parent club.
Now Aston has asked Millar to settle his full-back problem by taking ownership of the role. “What had a good talk recently, and he is starting to pick things up” said Aston. “It is great because he is one of our own after coming through our system. Over the last few weeks we’ve started to do a lot of work with Ryan and I think we are starting to see him look a little more comfortable in his role.”
The director added: “We have done a review, clipped all his work and gone through it one-on-one with him. We are trying to work a lot more one-on-one on the field as well. It is difficult when you are in season when you don’t have a lot of time, but we are working with him.
“The most important thing is to get him talking, to get him asking questions about the role and how he can improve.”