Sheffield Eagles can only restore top four Championship finishes by finding the elusive season-to-season continuity with their playing squad, says coach Mark Aston.
Aston, the Eagles director of rugby, looks set to enforce another turnover of players during the upcoming close season after being forced into late recruitment drives in recent years due to the club’s off the field issues.
Prior to the troubles of the last two seasons, Aston’s squad was largely made up of a core of tried and trusted operators who served the club over a period of time resulting in Grand Final successes and top four finishes.
Due to financial constraints and delays in recruiting, Aston’s side have been operating in the lower reaches of the Championship standings, with the 50-year-old having little time to work with his troops over pre-seasons.
Aston is desperate to bring the glory days back to the Steel City, but says they have to find the right blend this time around as he attempts to find the continuity that served him so well in the past.
“We have to try and fetch better quality into the group,” he told The Star.
“We had success previously, and the difference between where we are now to where we were then was we didn't change too much from season to season. We have to start that process again. That means we have to get the right players in, with the right attitude.”
Before Aston can think about next season, he must guide his side to Championship safety, and decide which of his current crop have a future with the club.
The process of recruiting won’t start yet, but Aston has a blueprint of what he will be looking for and only has to look at the success from the fairly recent past to know what works going forward.
“Maybe some of the great players we have had here in the past, we have to go back and look at what they did and say, that’s what we’ll need when we start looking at next season,” he added.
“We still have work to do at the present, and there’s still a job to be done.
“Long-term what we want is commitment, we want players who want to play for Sheffield Eagles and who want to enjoy themselves. We want performances onto the field that we can be proud of on a consistence basis. Our aim is to get back to that.”