Eagles planning to fly solo to avoid repeat of ill-fated merger

Championship Grand Final....Sheffield Eagles v Featherstone Rovers,,,,,Eagles Coach Mark Aston and his players with the trophy
Championship Grand Final....Sheffield Eagles v Featherstone Rovers,,,,,Eagles Coach Mark Aston and his players with the trophy
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SHEFFIELD Eagles’ determination to go it alone without a link to a Super League club has been influenced by the club’s traumatic history.

Coach Mark Aston is quick to cite the struggle to create a new Eagles following the ill-fated ‘merger’ with Huddersfield Giants in 2000.

“We have said that we will never sell our soul again, as we did a few years ago,” he said.

“We don’t want to work for someone else, we want to work for ourselves and develop things like the Scholarship and the Academies.

“We have the new relationship with Hallam University and there are lots we are trying to develop for the right reasons and we don’t need to link with a Super League club.”

Several Championship clubs – including Doncaster with Wakefield Wildcats – have agreed deals which allow them to field players under contract at their partnership Super League club. Aston has shunned that option and will go into the new season with a squad of players solely contracted to the Eagles. He said: “Why do you want to develop players for Super League clubs if you want to go to the Super League?

“That’s what we talk about and you will see the same in the clubs that have aspirations like Featherstone and Halifax. The teams that have aspirations must put pathways in place if they want to go to Super League.

“We have a chance in 2015 because it’s been agreed that one team will get promoted out of the Championship.

“We need to develop our own players ready for that so why fetch in Super League players and stop their (our players) development?”

He added: “Continuous success on the field is the key and having a development pathway and that’s what we’re striving for.

“At times you get knocked back but keep dusting ourselves off and getting up and doing what’s right for Sheffield Eagles.”