19 the number as Doug factor attracts Nell

Aaron Nell with Sheffield Steelers' No 19 shirt.
Aaron Nell with Sheffield Steelers' No 19 shirt.

Aaron Nell says he joined the Sheffield Steelers’ revolution because he believes coach Doug Christiansen will improve him as a player.

Nell says that Christiansen was the main reason behind his move from Swindon Wildcats.

“He is a very good coach who develops players,” he said. “I saw what he did with Ben O’Connor in Edinburgh and Robert Dowd in Belfast. He develops players and doesn’t stand in their way if they progress and want to move on.”

The 23-year-old has some big boots to fill - or shirt, to be more precise. His 19 jersey has been worn in the past by the likes of Scott Allison, Erik Anderson and, more recently, club mainstay Rod Sarich.

Allison made the shirt his own between 1997 and 2002, scoring 65 times and collecting 144 points. Anderson then replaced Allison in 2003, adding 52 goals and 117 points, leading the Steelers scoring in his two seasons there.

For the past eight years Sarich sported the 19 jersey, wearing it for his 400 games scoring 297 points.

“When I joined the club I didn’t know the significance of 19,” admitted Nell.

“All I can promise is that I’ll do my best for the club and hope my time will be as successful as the others. I hope we win lots of trophies. In Sheffield you have to win.”

Nell added: “Coming to Sheffield is a big move for me. Sheffield is a massive club. When I played in Coventry you always enjoyed coming here; it was the place to play. When I was a kid the Steelers were winning grand slams with players like Tony Hand.”

The Great Britain forward had two years in the Elite League with Blaze before a surprise move back to the English Premier and home-town club Swindon.

“The move back was good for my career. It gave me confidence,” he said. “I was a marked player there, under pressure to score. Perhaps here I will go under the radar a little. This is a fresh start for me and one I’m relishing.”