Matty Fozard says he will forever be indebted to Sheffield Eagles for kick-starting his career after confirming his departure from the Steel City last week.
The former St Helens hooker has been one of Mark Aston’s shining lights over the past three seasons, which has earned himself a move to an as yet unnamed full-time Championship club.
The Welsh international played his final game for the Eagles in defeat to Rochdale last weekend, but stressed he will never forget the opportunity the club gave him for regular first-team action, after being plucked out of regular second-string activity at Saints.
“Playing here has been a massive step forward in my playing career,” Fozard told The Star.
“Coming from St Helens where I played one game, to join Sheffield and play 30 plus games a season was huge.
“I think I've only missed four or five games in the whole of the three years I have been here. I'm only 23 so that's a big achievement for me.
“I have 100 games behind me now and that wouldn't have been possible without the opportunity that I have been given here. It has put me in good stead for my career now, the move that I have got is a fantastic move and it is all thanks to Sheffield Eagles.”
Fozard arrived during the Eagles’ ill-fated full-time revolution, but stayed with the club after Aston’s side were forced to switch back to a part-time operation.
The 23-year-old remained a regular performer as the Eagles hopped from Bawtry Road to the Olympic Legacy Park, via Wakefield’s Belle Vue, becoming a beacon of consistency around the ever-changing roster.
Now Fozard has decided to strike out away from South Yorkshire, but took time to hail the contribution of coach Aston, who he says has been like a ‘father figure’ to him during his stay with the Eagles.
“In rugby terms he (Aston) has been a father figure to me, although the lads all take the mick out of me for that! I will miss him,” Fozard added.
“We have our ups and downs, we have our conversations, but that's what coaches and playmakers do. I will miss playing for him, but also the backroom staff. Keith (Senior) has been fantastic with me.
“I'll miss all the boys who have been here, I'll miss everything about it. It is upsetting to leave but the amount of positives I can take from the three years here are endless.”