Sheffield Eagles’ recruitment drive accelerates with return of ex-star Pat Walker

Sheffield Eagles Head Coach Mark Aston.........Pic Steve Ellis
Sheffield Eagles Head Coach Mark Aston.........Pic Steve Ellis

Sheffield Eagles’ close season recruitment drive continues to accelerate after the club confirmed a return for ex-Eagle Pat Walker on a one-year deal.

The popular stand-off joins James Davey in switching back to Eagles after both departed for Batley in 2016, and his arrival takes the ex-Bulldogs contingent to four following the previous announcements of Jason Crookes and Joel Farrell.

With Dewsbury trio of full-back Josh Guzdek, loose forward Aaron Brown and centre James Glover all signing two-year deals on Friday, Aston’s recruitment drive has accelerated with more names to follow.

Walker, 32, enjoyed Grand Final success in his first spell with the Eagles between 2013 and 2015, and can also operate at loose forward.

The ex-Dewsbury ace, alongside hooker Davey, was one of a clutch of stars who departed the Eagles when the club switched to a full-time operation for the start of the 2016 season.

Whilst the full-time move quickly hit the buffers, Walker was one three players who helped galvanise a resurgence for Batley in recent years, along with Davey and Dominic Brambani.

Like many of his flock at the time, Aston didn’t want to lose the versatile operator and has now welcomed the experienced Championship performer back into his ranks.

“He had a good job and good career so we couldn't blame him for moving at the time,” Aston told The Star of his initial departure.

“He knows what he is doing, he can kick a ball, he can pass a ball and he has a good work ethic and all that. He is very strong. I remember John Kear speaking to me about the impact he had when he went to Batley along with James Davey and Dom Brambani. They were a massive reason why they became so successful. He has the right attitude, he is a smashing young man that gives respect, and he will get respect back in abundance.”

The Eagles have now made nine close season signings, which also include ex-Hemel Stags pair Sonny Esslemont and Louis Sheriff.