Sheffield Eagles hoping to extend stay of Irish international Joshua Toole.

Mark Aston
Mark Aston

Sheffield Eagles director of rugby Mark Aston says conversations have taken place regarding extending the stay of Irish international Joshua Toole.

The Aussie-born centre, who has also played in the back-row for the Eagles this season, has been a shining light in what generally has been a tough campaign for Aston’s side, after arriving during the close season.

Aston, who had previously worked with Toole at international level with Ireland, has often cited the 28-year-old for praise this season, and again talked him up after the recent game against Leigh Centurions when he stood out after what was a poor team display.

Following the victory over Swinton, which all but secured their Championship status, Aston will be keen to keep hold of his prized assets as he looks to reshuffle his roster for 2019, and says he’s sounding Toole out for an extended stay.

“That conversation is going ahead now,” Aston revealed to The Star.

“Where does he want to be, does he want to stay with us, we are having that discussion now with him. He is certainly a player that has done enough to warrant to be with us going forward.

“He scored a great try at Leigh where we were disappointing as a team. He took the ball from the scrum himself and beat them, he had the pace to get over the line. It was a strong try, but he has been strong most of the season.”

It hasn’t all been plain sailing for Toole this season, with injuries often setting him back during the early stages of the campaign.

When fit he showed he was a force to be reckoned with, and during the last quarter of the camapign he has stayed injury free to become one of the first names on the teamsheet.

Aston is expected to make several changes for next season, with a number of players expected to be on their way, but he wants Toole to stay and help mould his new look side.

What position remains to be seen, with Aston keen to keep him in the back row long-term.

“We have put him in a number of different positions,” he reiterated.

“He has been at centre, he has been in the back row, and long term I think he really has the potential to be a really strong back-rower because he runs some good lines on the edges. He has been good for us this year, we’re pleased with him.”