8th February 2018, 18:55
The pressure is on Fax says Aston
Sheffield Eagles Director of Rugby Mark Aston has said the pressure is on Halifax ahead of the meeting between the teams on Sunday afternoon.
The Eagles travel to the MBi Shay after a narrow 20-18 loss at Dewsbury Rams while Fax enter round two following a 20-4 defeat against Featherstone Rovers.
Sheffield will be looking to bounce back from the disappointment of last Friday but Aston understands his side go into the match as underdogs.
“They expect to beat us. That’s where we are,” said the Eagles chief.
“People are telling us we’re a bottom end team so these sides who have got aspirations of the top four, which you’d think Halifax would have after last year, will be seeing it as a definite win to get two points on the table and start their season.
“We’ve got to make sure we disappoint them.
“Let us look after what we can control, playing to our standards and the result will take care of itself.
“The pressure will be on them more than us.”
Aston was in positive spirits despite his side’s loss at Dewsbury in round one and the same can be said for the players, whose attitude has been described as “outstanding” by the coach.
“What we’ve got to do is improve a little bit on what we did last Friday and if we do that over the next few matches we’ll be successful,” he added.
“We were quite honest at the team meeting on Tuesday night, telling people where we need to be and what we need to do.
“Their attitude towards training was outstanding and we’re developing, understanding, and getting the knowledge to execute the game plan.
“We need a positive performance but we’re not kidding ourselves, we’re not the finished article at this moment in time.”
Halifax have a talented squad which can cause problems for most teams but the half-back partnership of Scott Murrell and Ben Johnson could be classed as the most potent part.
When asked about the importance of keeping the duo quiet, Aston commented: “They’re experienced players who have played at this level for years,”
“Scott has played at the highest level and Ben’s been around Halifax for a number of years so they’re certainly influential.
“Their kicking and knowledge of the game is good so we need to have a marker on them, no doubt about that.”
Sunday’s match at the MBi Shay kicks off at 3pm.
By Dan Fowler