Sheffield Eagles director of rugby Mark Aston has hailed his skipper Steve Thorpe who returned to action last week less than a month after breaking his cheekbone.
The 2015 Player of the Year, Thorpe was made captain by Aston last month only for the Aussie second-rower to pick up a serious injury just seven minutes into his tenure as skipper.
But, after just over three weeks on the sidelines, Thorpe was back to lead the Eagles against Batley last weekend, showing all the battling qualities which prompted Aston to hand him the armband in the first instance.
“I thought he played tough last week, and that’s what we have been waiting for Steve Thorpe to do,” Aston told The Star.
“He has had a hurdle to overcome with his leg. He got over that, then he picked up the latest injury. I thought he stood tall against Batley.
“He gave a captain’s knock, and that was what we were looking for. We need to build on the back of that.
“He’s getting there and that is why we made him the captain - because we know that he will lead from the front.”
The Eagles will be looking to give their fans a much-needed boost this weekend, with the club facing an uncertain future both on and off the field.
With just one win in their last nine games in all competitions, there is now a genuine threat of relegation hanging over the club.
A crunch fixture against fellow strugglers Swinton Lions is coming up this Sunday.
Thorpe was joined on the field by Duane Straugheir who also returned from a spell on the sidelines as Aston welcomed back two of his key performers.
But there doesn’t look to be an immediate end to winger Garry Lo’s injury troubles, as the Papua New Guinea ace continues to struggle with a long standing shoulder problem which has ruled him out again in recent weeks.
“It is the same problem again,” Aston confirmed. “He really needs a full week in training .
“If he can get that then we will give him a go because there are plenty of people not hitting their straps at this present time.”
Aston is currently monitoring the progress of two French trialists who are training with the club this week, as he looks to add to his squad before Sunday’s trip to Swinton (3pm).