Sheffield Eagles coach Mark Aston has drawn a line in the sand, and told his experienced players that they need to shape up quickly.
The Steel City team suffered their fifth home defeat of the season to a well-motivated and professional Keighly Cougars outfit on Sunday at Owlerton.
And Aston is pointing the finger of blame for the team’s current woes firmly at his more senior men.
“Embarrassing is the word,” he said.
“There’s too many people kidding themselves and being dishonest.
“They disrespect themselves and they disrespect me. I’ve said a few harsh words and I meant them all heartily, because I was embarrassed.
“It’s tough for all the kids. I’ve got people like Jack Blagborough, Peter Aspinall there, they’re young kids who are 19 years old.
“Yet some of the senior players aren’t making it easy to put them in. That’s where we’ve been all year, the senior players aren’t making it easy for me to put young players in, and that’s a frustration.”
Aston also brushes off any excuses about the players not enjoying playing at Owlerton Stadium, after their move there this season.
“I thought Michael Knowles put his hand up and was outstanding,” he said.
“He showed a bit of pride and passion. I thought there weren’t too many others who did that.
“We got beaten by a team that wanted it more than us. Credit it to them, but I’m frustrated with this group of people.
“Consistency comes from within. That’s what I talk about, respect and discipline, and we certainly haven’t got that at the moment.
“I need to find it. Owlerton is not the problem. Owlerton doesn’t make the players drop the ball, Owlerton doesn’t make their attitude soft, Owlerton doesn’t make them disrespectful.
“Owlerton is a piece of grass. They [the players] don’t do their jobs. Roles and responsibilities, we’ve all got them.
“I’m here to coach. At the moment I am not coaching, I am babysitting a group of schoolchildren, and it is doing my head in.”
Aston also hinted that he may be active in the transfer market before the end of the season.
“It’s certainly time to look [for reinforcements] so that I can enjoy watching bloody games of rugby,” he fumed.
“It was the first game in three months that I enjoyed, when we beat Dewsbury. And now we’re back to the same-old, same-old.
“That drives me insane. There are quality people in this squad, but they’re not being respectful, I would say.
“There’s certainly need to bring someone in. I’ve been saying to them that I’ve given them all the opportunities.
“I’ve changed the team round, I’ve moved it round and thought we were going in the right direction.
“There’s no excuses, at the end of the day they’re rugby players.”