Sheffield Eagles director of rugby Mark Aston is targeting two more wins for Championship survival after ending the regular season with a defeat at Leigh Centurions.
Aston’s side looked on course to stage a big upset at the Leigh Sports Village after moving into a 10-0 lead, but a strong second-half showing from the hosts saw Kieron Purtill’s side eventually prevail.
Leigh’s victory wasn’t enough to see them advance into the top four, with the Centurions and Featherstone joining the Eagles in the Championship Shield after the final round of fixtures.
The first-half showing will give Aston hope that his side can spring a surprise on their next meeting, with the Eagles chief confident that two more victories will be enough to see his side secure their second-tier status for another season.
“I think one or two wins would see us through to survival,” Aston explained.
“We have three wins on Swinton and Rochdale. They will have to win three out of their last seven to get level with us without us winning, so with the two wins recently we have put ourselves in a decent position.
“We need to focus on getting a positive result or two and that will put us in a great position to stay up. We want to do it as quick as possible and then we can start building for 2019. It can’t come quick enough as far as I am concerned.”
Tries from James Bentley and Cory Aston put the Eagles in a promising position against a Leigh side that looked to be in shock after losing several of their top performers prior to kick-off.
With the Centurions offloading players to alleviate a potential financial disaster, the Eagles looked to have capitalised on what had been a difficult week for the Lancastrians.
But the hosts rallied in the second-half to halt what would have been an unexpected bonus victory for Aston’s side who are now set for a week-long break.
The Eagles chief will be sending his troops away on holiday for seven days as preparations are then stepped up for the Championship Shield with the dates for fixtures set to be announced shortly.
“There has been a bit of turmoil at Leigh this week, and we wanted to take advantage of that, but the remaining squad still isn’t bad is it,” he added.
“They are a tough nut to crack even without four or five of their top players.”