Patch gets a lesson in stands

Rugby League coverage in The Star
Rugby League coverage in The Star

SHEFFIELD Eagles’ coach Mark Aston took the risky move of leaving out Patch Walker to give the half-back a tutorial in how he wants him to play.

After struggling to fit into the Eagles style in the opening two games, new signing Walker sat in the stands as the Eagles won 52-20 against Swinton Lions.

“I had Patch sat with me because I wanted to educate him,” said Aston. “He’s been at Dewsbury for six years and they play a certain way and he’s still got that in him – that’s not our way.

“We talked about how I want him to play and how we manage this team. It was a risk because you’re trying to get that bit of continuity with the half-backs.”

Walker is a key signing for Eagles but he has a more direct style of play than the kicking game of Simon Brown, who he replaced.

It’s vital to Aston’s team plans that Walker builds an effective partnership with Dominic Brambani.

Aston added: “On match days on the field Patch has to be ‘me’ and run this team, organise them.”

Pat Smith was brought in against Swinton and scored the last of the Eagles eight second half tries. The Irish international half-back’s performance sets Aston a selection headache ahead of the trip to Workington Town next Sunday.