Sheffield Eagles may have to move out of the city

Sheffield Eagles in action at the Keepmoat, Doncaster
Sheffield Eagles in action at the Keepmoat, Doncaster
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Sheffield Eagles’ season came to an end when they bowed out of the Championship playoffs at semi-final stage, but the upcoming off season is set to be one of intrigue for Mark Aston’s side.

Eagles are thought to be a part of the new Olympic Legacy Park earmarked for the site of the demolished Don Valley Stadium, the club’s old home, which will include a purpose built rugby stadium from 2016.

Basketball outfit Sheffield Sharks – currently based at the English Institute of Sport – could also be set to call the new venue home.

Richard Caborn will front a press conference tomorrow outlining more details of the park, which will also have a strong emphasis on education, including a University Technical College, a school and high involvement from Hallam University.

In the meantime, the Rugby Football League have recently revealed that, as of next season, it will be a requirement for all Championship stadia to contain at least 1500 seats, which rules out the possibility of Eagles continuing to use Owlerton Stadium, or their training base at Bawtry Road.

With neither professional football club in the city thought to be keen on accommodating the Eagles on a season-long basis, it could be a case of the club moving out of Sheffield in the short-term until their new stadium, which they have longed for since the club was relaunched in 2000, is ready for business in 2016.

They recently hosted a playoff match at Doncaster’s Keepmoat Stadium, and one possible solution could be a ground share there.

On the field, a 21-12 defeat to Featherstone Rovers ended the Eagles’ hopes of reaching a fourth consecutive Championship Grand Final. Aston’s team gave themselves a mountain to climb with a 21-0 half-time deficit, but Aston reflected on the 2014 campaign with pride.

He said: “We’ve been outstanding at the back end of the season; we just came a bit unstuck at Featherstone.

“I’m immensely proud of them; they’ve got their mojo back and they had a dig. We didn’t let a point in during the second half on Sunday, which shows the commitment and the attitude of the players.”

He added: “Now we have to rebuild and refocus. There were times in the season where you wondered where we were going and what we were doing, but they have turned it around and I’d like to thank them all for that.”