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Sheffield Eagles: We’ve let the fans down this season admits Mark Aston

Matty Fozard acknowledges fans on his final appearance for Sheffield Eagles
Matty Fozard acknowledges fans on his final appearance for Sheffield Eagles

Director of rugby Mark Aston says his Sheffield Eagles side have let down the supporters after ending the 2018 campaign with fifth straight defeat.

Relegation-threatened Rochdale Hornets secured their survival with victory at the OLP, as Aston watched several members of his side end their time with the club in disappointment.

The game followed a similar pattern to the recent home defeat to Barrow, with Aston’s side within touching distance of their opponents going into the last quarter, but the Hornets struck late to send Swinton into the play-off against the loser of the League One showdown between Bradford and Workington.

The defeat again came as no surprise to Aston, who says his side have come up short in 2018 promising to reward his supporters with a competitive showing next season.

“It was close at the beginning, which was about it. I feel for the fans,” Aston admitted to The Star.

“The players didn't give me what I asked for. Did it surprise me? No.

“I have to thank the supporters - I am just sorry to say that we have let you down. We aim to make sure that next year that we pay you back and reward the people who support this club through this difficult period.”

The likes of Matty Fozard, Simon Brown, Josh Toole, Oscar Thomas, Jon Magrin, Iliess Macani and Mark Offerdahl were all making their final bow for the club, but they couldn’t muster a winning finale.

The rebuilding is already well underway as Aston looks to avoid a similar season of struggle in 2019, with the experienced coach again brutally honest in his assessment of his current crop.

“As I said at half-time to them, there are players here that do not warrant to put on the red and gold shirt,” Aston added.

“That's been evident all year. It is over now, thank goodness. We can move forward now and start looking forward to the next chapter.

“I can drown all my sorrows tonight, and look at the bottom of a glass for an hour or two with the backroom staff.

“We set the game off with a try and then we camped on their line for a large amount of time, but actually at the end of the day we never looked like scoring. People did what they wanted to do. You have to play together. You have to have an understanding, and we looked totally disjointed. That's just the weakness of the group.”