Aston banks on defence

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SHEFFIELD Eagles coach Mark Aston is ready to play a waiting game to make sure of the points at Swinton Lions.

The Championship title holders have struggled to produce their trademark sweeping attacking rugby in the opening games of the season.

Aston says that will come and is relying on his strong defence to lay the foundations for a second successive win.

“Defensively we have been outstanding for two weeks now. We finished last year strong in defence and we aimed to improve on that this season,” said Aston.

“With the ball that will come as we get more time on the field. It would be nice to get on a wide dry pitch and then it’s up to us to put the ball in the right areas.”

The forwards – with Peter Green making his 100th appearance for the club – should be able to dominate possession. That would open the way for half-backs Patch Walker and Dominic Brambani to build on the form they showed in the second half of the win over Batley.

Aston is considering bringing back try-scoring winger Scott Turner, recovered from a calf strain, and giving a debut to centre Matt Garside.

Swinton have proven Championship experience in half-back Ian Watson, winger Andy Ballard, and forward Tyrone McCarthy. They are relying on young players signed on dual registration with Warrington Wolves.

Getting the mix right has been difficult with defeats in the opening games.

Aston hopes Eagles’ more settled, experienced squad will exploit any weaknesses.

“What I have seen of Swinton they are not gelling but they are only going to get better. Potentially they are a good team but potential is only half the story.”