16th April 2018, 11:55
Aston blasts disciplinary process
Sheffield Eagles boss Mark Aston has fired a second broadside at the game’s disciplinary process after Batley three-quarter Jason Crookes escaped suspension over a recent incident.
Aston last week labelled the process as “disgraceful” in League Express following two separate incidents in the game at Barrow.
But he says the decision not to ban Crookes over an off-the-ball challenge on Eagles three-quarter Josh Toole is worse than both of them.
Aston said: “It just shows the incompetence of the system.
“The report says that there is body-to-body contact - how in that case then can my player have left the field concussed and not be allowed to return by the doctor?
“He was then ruled out for seven days after that.
“Somebody on this disciplinary procedure needs to explain to me how that happens if there isn’t contact with the head.
“How do they think it has happened?
“It’s a raised forearm, it isn't shoulder-to-shoulder, and it’s happened so far off the ball that my player, Josh Toole, couldn’t fend for himself or defend himself.
“He had no idea what was coming - he was watching the ball.
“How can a player being so unprotected and getting hit like that not be a ban?
“In this era where we hear so much about player welfare, where is the player welfare in that?
“Or are they just paying lip service to it?
“The week before, Josh Toole got a two-match ban - having never been sent off in his career - for lifting a leg in what was described as being reckless.
“What is the Jason Crookes incident if it isn’t reckless?
“It’s the worst thing I’ve seen in years and there’s no suspension.”
"The official RFL report over the matter read: “Player makes forceful body-to-body contact with opponent off the ball.
“Player makes no attempt to wrap with arms. Initial contact from player’s shoulder to opponent’s chest area.
“Worthy of on-field penalty.”
Aston has added to his squad with the signing of back rower Paddy Burns, the younger brother of current Eagle Greg.
Aston said: “Paddy came through our development system at the club before that got taken away from us.
“He then went to Castleford, which isn’t a bad thing if I’m honest, although it broke our hearts that he had to leave our system.
“He became captain of the academy there and he’s recently had a couple of months playing in France with Villeneuve.
“We’re delighted that he's come back because he’s a great kid who is no different to his brother - he’s a competitor and he’s tough.
“It’s great for us that we’ve now got Paddy and Greg, Ryan Millar and Cory Aston all in our squad who came through that performance structure.”
Recent signing Corey Makelim has also now linked up with Aston’s squad after receiving his visa.
The USA international said: “Hopefully I can bring a bit of consistency.
“We can turn our season around with a few more wins and I’m looking forward to playing.
“It’s about going out there and proving to the boys I can play and do what Tubbs (Aston) wants us to.
“Hopefully I can come over and play some good footy.”
Report originally in the League Express, photo by Alex Coleman