STEELERS: Losing Tait ‘tipped the title balance’

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STEELERS’ owner Tony Smith believes the injury to Ashley Tait was the nail in Sheffield’s coffin.

Tait suffered ankle ligament damage against eventual champions Belfast Giants on February 5.

That put one of the most experienced home grown British players out of the next 19 games, which, of course, included the disastrous league run-in and Play Off quarter final loss.

Tait had averaged a point a game in the previous 43 games, so it’s obvious how an extra 19 points, or so, could have impacted on the season.

Smith said: “One man doesn’t make a team but that injury upset the balance of the side. Look what happened afterwards. I’m acutely disappointed for the fans that we did not make the Play Off finals. We had sold iceSheffield out for Sunday’s game and had to turn away hundreds on the door. So not to make it to Nottingham was a blow, as the fans deserved it.”

Smith takes some comfort from the overall shape the business is in, since he took it over last Summer, from Paul Ragan. “If last June somebody had offered me stability and league second place I’d have been happy. It’s been a big ask to turn the club round. It could take two or three years to get it completely right.”

Meanwhile, sacked winger Colt King says he does not know where his future lies.

He tweeted: “I don’t have any plans for next season. I would have liked to return to Sheffield for a second season.”