Director of rugby Mark Aston is ‘still loving the challenge’ as he prepares for his 500th game in charge of Sheffield Eagles this weekend.
Aston leads his troops into the landmark fixture looking to bounce back from the defeat against Whitehaven, as the Eagles host Swinton Lions for the second time this season in the fourth round of the Challenge Cup.
Aston has been at the heart of the Eagles story since the club’s reformation and ahead of a special afternoon for the Eagles chief, he admits that the desire to succeed is still as strong as ever. “The club is very close to my heart, I am privileged to still be associated with the club and to be coaching them. Hopefully I can get to 1,000 games. In life you get challenges and I am still loving the challenge of being involved with Sheffield Eagles, and trying to make the club successful again.”
Some of Aston’s highlights include leading the club to back-to-back Championship Grand Final success in 2012 and 2013, and steering them to a third placed finish last season.
Now in charge of a new group of full-time players, Aston is dreaming of future success with the Eagles, starting with Saturday’s showdown with the Lions.
“Are we successful now? I would say yes,” he added.
“We are a professional rugby league club that are in The Championship and last year we beat Super League opposition. We have had success here, we have tasted the glory and long may it continue.
“For sure we have had some kicks in the teeth, but for the most part we have had some really good times, they have certainly outweighed the bad times.”
It is no secret that Aston is determined to take the Eagles back into Super League, and that remains top of the long-term agenda for the long serving coach.
“The dream is to get back into Super League, something that seemed a long way away 16 years ago when we didn’t have a player or anything,” Aston recalls.
“When you starting thinking back you realise that the club has been around a bit, we have had a decent journey and a good run of success and it is still going.”