SHEFFIELD Eagles are ‘ready to talk’ to their former centre Tangi Ropati about a return to the club next season.
Samoan international Ropati is one of 13 players dramatically axed by Widnes Vikings.
The cull comes as Widnes rebuild their squad ahead of the club moving into Super League next season.
Ropati’s return would be popular with Eagles fans in view of Misi Taulapapa moving to the Super League with Hull KR next season.
“We need to know more about Tangi’s plans, said coach Mark Aston. “If Tangi wants to come back there’s no reason what we can’t have a chat with him,” he said. “I would have thought he may go back to New Zealand.”
Ropati, 26, joined the Eagles at the start of the 2009 season from Queensland Cup team East Tigers. His silky running style complemented the power of Menzie Yere in the centres and he scored 27 tries.
Ropati joined Widnes at the start of the current season but following the club being awarded a Super League franchise coach Denis Betts has decided not to take up the option of extending his contract.
Hull KR have confirmed that they have signed Eagles full back Misi Taulapapa on a one-year deal for next season as forecast in the Star last week.
Taulapapa has been at the Eagles for two seasons after joining from top Australian club Cronulla Sharks. He has played 39 games scoring 15 tries.
Meanwhile the Eagles must now win their final league game to have a chance of finishing in the top four to earn a home draw in the opening round of the Championship play-offs. The 34-12 defeat by Featherstone Rovers leaves them trailing Widnes by two points with a worse points difference.
The Eagles play relegation-threatened York City Knights at Bramall Lane on Sunday and Widnes are at home to league leaders Featherstone.
Aston said: “It’s frustrating. If we’d beaten Featherstone we could have finished third.”