10th January 2019, 16:55
Aston's Pre-Season Update
Sheffield Eagles Director of Rugby, Mark Aston, has given an insight into the club’s preparations for their 2019 campaign in an interview with Dan Fowler.
DF: Mark, the season is just a month away now. I imagine the intensity in pre-season has been lifted over the past few weeks?
MA: “Yeah it definitely has. We started quite early and got into it so we had a good pre pre-Christmas,”
“On the back of that, we have had a few days off over the Christmas period but they are back in now and it’s all systems go.
“We haven’t got long till the season starts, the intensity is going to rise and the boys have responded.
“I am really pleased how they have gone about their business.
DF: From all of our chats over the past few seasons, you’ve always said that ‘you play how you train’. By the sounds of it, it’s looking good at the minute on that front?
MA: “They are training well and they are a tight-knitted squad already. They’re doing a lot of games, working hard and being competitive.
“The nice thing over Christmas was that we split the camp into four teams and whichever of the teams wins the challenges (in training) gets two days off at the Christmas period.
“But the team that won decided to share a day off with the other three teams so instead of the winners having two days off, the full squad had one off and then were back in.
“That just shows the togetherness is building which we are keen on instilling.”
DF: You have said about splitting the squad into different teams during training. I guess that competitive streak can only be a good thing as we head into the season?
MA: “Definitely so. Look, we have got three hookers out there and players busting to get into the team and that fetches the best out of each other.
“The games (in training) are great with prizes at the end of it and they are competing against each other for starting spots. Nobody knows who that will be and it’ll be down to people who impress in pre-season.
“It’s going to be tough when it comes to Swinton. We’re looking to have a couple of friendlies, or at one at least, and that will give people another chance to throw their hat in the ring.
“If not, it’s about picking players from what happens in training. And from how they are all training at the minute, there will be tough decisions to be made.”
DF: The Swinton game is a month away and will be a test, just like every game will be this year. We had a few disappointments on home turf last season so it will be great if we can right the wrongs from the start?
MA: “We need a big start against Swinton, then it’s Barrow away and they are tough games in their own right.
“Swinton have a few new players who are keen. They managed to stay up last year so they will be keen to get off to a good start.
“It’s all about the team with the right attitude going into it. I think this squad of players that we’ve got have got the right attitude.
“We want to start the season right, at home in front of our fans, before going to Barrow and having another good performance.
“We need to start very well and it certainly feels a lot different to what it was like at this time last year.”
By Dan Fowler, photo by Alex Coleman