Why this Sheffield sports team needs to be ‘hostile and brutal’ this season

Sheffield Eagles boss Mark Aston
Sheffield Eagles boss Mark Aston

Sheffield Eagles’ chief Mark Aston says his team will be no pushovers next season after insisting there is a new toughness surrounding his side.

2018 proved difficult for Aston to take after often being frustrated at how his side became overrun during crucial periods of games.

The Eagles achieved their goal of survival but their end of season slump confirmed to Aston that major surgery to his side was required.

The 51-year-old has added 14 new faces to his squad, with the aim of improving the dressing room culture, whilst also making his side a much tougher unit to crack in 2019.

With just under a month to go to the start of the campaign, Aston believes he has the right ingredients to ensure that his side won’t be a soft touch in the new 14-team Championship division.

“The big fellas will have to toughen this season,” he told The Star.

“We have acted by bringing in players like (Brad) Knowles, (Aaron) Brown, (Joel) Farrell and one or two others, added to the likes of Matty James. With those guys in the camp, we know we have added that bit of toughness that we needed from last season.

“We have worked them hard so far, there is no doubt about it because that is what is going to make us successful this year. The big fellas will be our key.

“There have been times when they have been sore in pre-season because we have instilled in them the demands we require. At times it has been hostile and brutal, but that’s what it needed to be like.”

With a new senior panel now in operation designed to guide a largely young group in the right direction, Aston says he has quickly turned around his dressing room issues from previous years as he looks for his players to take on increased responsibility.

“It has to be driven by the players, and that is what we have spoken about this year,” he continued.

“Coaches can lead, but it is the players who have to put it into practice. They are taking it on board, the senior group will help. They are vastly experienced, there must be a 1000 games between them.”