Sheffield Eagles have been handed a double boost after confirmation that former favourite Simon Brown has returned to the club, a day after Scott Wheeldon agreed a new contract.
Both have signed one-year deal, with Brown returning for a second spell five years after his first one ended in 2012.
Wheeldon, last season’s Players’ Player of the Year, was heavily linked with a move away from the club, and his decision to put pen-to-paper will be seen as a major boost for the club.
Brown, a veteran of the side that won the Championship Grand Final in 2012, returns to the club after a two-year stint with Hunslet, with director of rugby Mark Aston delighted to see the half-back back under his tutelage.
“I went to see him recently, and obviously we have a strong relationship from years back, so I have kept in touch with him,” Aston told The Star of his initial contact with Brown.
“He has always talked to me, and asked for my advice so it has been a strong connection even though he was no longer with the Eagles.
“When we were at our best in 2011 and 2012, he was alongside players like Menzie Yere and a big part of what we were achieving.
“I am delighted to get him back.
“I don’t think that he ever wanted to leave Sheffield.
“I think if you asked him now he will say that it was one of his regrets.”
Brown joins Sam Scott in returning to the Eagles as Aston looks to put the finishing touches to his squad for the 2017 campaign.
With Jordan Cox, Will Hope, Perry Whiteley, Kyle Trout, Sam Scott and James Kelly all confirmed, Aston will look to further supplement his numbers from the club’s dual-registration agreement with Leigh Centurions
With so many new faces in his side, Aston will be buoyed by hanging onto Wheeldon, with the former Castleford ace courting interest from home and abroad during the close season.
“As last season went on I thought that Scott was outstanding,” Aston added.
“He showed great leadership skills, and he will be playing a major role in leading this group again next season.”
The Eagles take on Doncaster tomorrow at The Keepmoat Stadium in a pre-season friendly (3pm), and they are expected to confirm another friendly with Wakefield Trinity at Belle Vue for the 29th January.