8th August 2017, 12:44
Season break benefits the Eagles - Aston
Director of rugby Mark Aston believes Sheffield Eagles’ break could have longer-term benefits after the club began their Championship Shield campaign with a win.
The Eagles passed 50 points for the second time this season in a comprehensive victory over struggling Oldham, with Elliot Minchella bagging a hat-trick as Aston’s troops produced a performance which was a far cry from their recent defeat to Dewsbury.
Despite Aston’s disgruntled assessment of their loss to the Rams, he stuck to his guns by giving his team a complete break for a week, and now that interruption looks to have paid off.
“Time will tell whether it will have an effect long term,” Aston said. “A lot of people might not have agreed with giving them time away, especially after the Dewsbury result and performance."
"I really felt it was necessary. I think when you are driving in from different places for months on end, and then training hard, it takes its toll. You need a break. The lads looked better for it.”
Aston promised changes to his side for the opening game of the Championship Shield and he didn’t disappoint. Ryan Millar returned at full-back which allowed Jack Owens to partner Remy Marginet in the halves.
That proved to be a masterstroke, with Owens at the heart of several tries and contributing 16 points with the boot. The likes of Paddy Flynn and Matty Fozard also contributed with a brace apiece, while St Helens loanee Calvin Wellington was given his full debut.
Whether the break will have further benefits remain to be seen, but Aston is confident his side are in good shape for the forthcoming games.
“Time will tell on whether it will be a benefit, not just this week, but over the next six, seven or eight weeks,” he added.
“That’s when we’ll see the real benefit, I believe. If we get to the final it will be close to 11 months when they have been training or playing. That’s a long time.
“The players need to get their mind right again as we settle back into playing week in, week out. We need to build and try and gain some momentum as the weeks go on.”
The Eagles travel to Swinton this Sunday for round two of the Shield.