Sheffield Eagles: The points target Mark Aston believes will keep his side up

Simon Brown
Simon Brown
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Sheffield Eagles director of rugby Mark Aston has set a points target to secure his side’s survival, asking his troops to rediscover their clinical nature for Sunday’s crucial showdown with Batley Bulldogs.

Defeat against Swinton Lions threw the relegation dogfight wide open with the Eagles just two points above the relegation zone ahead of the trip to Mount Pleasant.

With top four contenders Featherstone, Toulouse and Toronto all to follow, Aston knows mid-table Batley represents an opportunity to get much needed points on the board before a tricky run of fixtures.

Taking a look at the bigger picture the Eagles has set a 20 point target for safety, and Aston has challenged his side to rediscover the clinical nature which swept aside Barrow recently ahead of the trip to West Yorkshire.

“There are 14 games left. We need to win five, six, seven - more if we can,” Aston told The Star.

“We have to be realistic, we need to get to something like 18 or 20 points and then I think we’ll be secure. We have to win, and that starts this weekend. We have to really focus in, I am believer we can win this game but we have to be better, we have to be more disciplined, and more clinical.

“We had enough chances the other day to win the game, we could have been clear at half-time. We weren’t clinical and ruthless enough. That’s something we have spoken about. We have to learn, we want to take it forward.”

Aston expects to have the regular faces on dual-registration from St Helens this weekend, whilst he also confirmed that Simon Brown was fit but didn’t make the 17 against Swinton.

That may change Sunday as the Eagles chief mulls over his options, but whatever the personnel the fundamental improvements remain the same, as he waits for his side to extend their good patches of play for longer periods during games.

“We could have won the Swinton game, we didn’t and the reason is that we have to turn up for longer periods,” he added.

“I thought we started the game strongly last weekend, and if we had stuck to the game plan and what we had talked about we would have come away with a result. We didn’t, we let ourselves down and there were again signs that we still have that little bit of softness in us where for 20-30 minutes in a game we stop doing the things we should be doing.”