Sheffield Eagles v London Broncos: Mark Aston not ready for candle to go out on season

Mark Aston has stressed that Sheffield Eagles do not want the candle to go out on their season after achieving their first objective of a top-four finish.

The Eagles booked a Championship play-off place for the first time since 2014 thanks in no small part to a flying start that saw Aston's side win seven of their opening nine games.

Sheffield finished 12th two years ago but are now looking forward to a home tie against London Broncos on Sunday.

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Long-serving boss Aston is proud of the club's progress but insists his team are not done yet.

"We talked in the public domain about improving on last year which meant getting in the top six," he said.

"In house between the four walls, we challenged ourselves to finish in the top four.

"It's mission accomplished in that respect and a massive achievement from the boys but once you're in the play-offs, you don't want it to end.

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"Yes we've ticked the box and achieved what we wanted to achieve but I don't want the candle to go out. We're not content or ready to end our story."

Mark Aston has guided the Eagles back to the play-offs. (Photo: Olly Hassell/ Aston has guided the Eagles back to the play-offs. (Photo: Olly Hassell/
Mark Aston has guided the Eagles back to the play-offs. (Photo: Olly Hassell/

Sheffield finished fourth after suffering a last-gasp defeat at the hands of Bradford Bulls, setting up another clash with the Broncos at Olympic Legacy Park.

Aston knows his team must improve on last week's performance and their recent home loss to London if they are to progress in the play-offs.

"To win big games you've got to be really disciplined in how you manage a game," he said.

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"We didn't do that last week and it's let us down on odd occasions. We've focused on high completion, field position and building pressure, things at the beginning of the season that there were no better teams at. If we get back to that, we know we can play rugby and score points.

Matty Dawson-Jones scores a try at Swinton. (Photo: Olly Hassell/ Dawson-Jones scores a try at Swinton. (Photo: Olly Hassell/
Matty Dawson-Jones scores a try at Swinton. (Photo: Olly Hassell/

"London are bloody good. They were outstanding when we last played them. Mike Eccles has done a fantastic job there. It's based on effort. Their work ethic and fitness levels are there for all to see."

The Eagles have qualified for the play-offs within 18 months of their long-awaited return to the city.

Aston believes Sheffield are in good health after finding a home again.

"It was a long, long time outside the city," he added.

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"What I'm really, really pleased about is how far the club has come, not only on the field which is massive but off it as well.

"We had nearly 2,000 people there on Sunday against Bradford, our biggest crowd for a long, long time.

"There’s other stuff behind the scenes with the women's, wheelchair, LD and PD teams. We've got touch rugby and walking rugby going as well.

"The club has steadily developed off the field as much as on it since coming back to the city."

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