8th August 2018, 06:55
Aston answers questions from Eagles fans
Sheffield Eagles fans were given the chance, via the Eagles' Supporters Facebook group, to put forward their questions for Director of Rugby, Mark Aston, following the end of the regular Championship season.
Wylie Tufnell: How hopeful are you that some of the players who are out of contract will re-sign?
MA: "We are always hopeful. Certainly, those who have performed to a high level this season we want to keep,"
"Obviously there’s people like Ben Blackmore, Ryan Millar, Matt James, Shaun Pick, Oliver Davies, Greg Burns and Corey Makelim who are already committed for next year.
"Over the next week or two we want to tie down those we want to keep as well.
"We are not chasing our tails like last year.
"I’ve been given the thumbs up to get out there and get people sorted out so that’s what I’m doing.
Jake Rooney: Who’s been the standout player for you this year?
MA: "Certainly Matt James at the start of the season was outstanding but unfortunately he got knee burns and didn’t play for six to eight weeks after that.
"Shaun Pick has had a few good games and picked up.
"There’s Jon Magrin, Matty Fozard always gives 100% as well as Ryan Millar and Ben Blackmore.
Jake Rooney: How many new signings are we close to for next year or at least in the process of negotiating?
MA: "We can start talking to people from the 1st September and no doubt after that we will be very busy."
"I’m a big believer that you need to meet them and go from there.
"There’s a number of people in the pipeline that will certainly be advantageous to us going forward.
Mark Webster: Have we achieved our aim this season? Have we over or underachieved?
MA: "At the end of the day we want to be successful, we set our standards high.
"It was all about survival but the last two years we’ve survived and got into the Shield final.
"We won’t be able to achieve that this season but we always try to be a little better. We probably haven’t been as good as we would have liked or hoped.
Ciaran Rooney: The biggest high and low of the season?
MA: "I thought we were good at the Blackpool Bash when we needed to be.
"To win those home games against Dewsbury and Barrow was massive for us and really pleasing.
"Playing with 16 men against Swinton away.
"We have won a number of games that have been close which has pleased me a little bit but some of the (defeats), the Leigh game at home sticks out (as the low).
Katie Peat: If you had the same money as Leigh last season, which players would you buy?
MA: "There’s good people knocking about like Keal Carlile and Scott Wheeldon who were good for us.
"They’re all a bit older now but Misi Taulapapa and QLT too, where do you stop?
Billy Peat: Will we still be dual-reg with St Helens next season?
MA: "That depends on a lot of things.
"Do they want to? I’m sure they do.
"But it’s whether they fetch the reserves in or not."
By Dan Fowler