YOUNG prop forward Eddie Battye has pushed his way to the front of the queue for a call-up to Sheffield Eagles first team when the new season kicks off at the weekend.
The 19-year-old, from Oxspring, has sent a message demanding a chance by his determination in training, says coach. Mark Aston.
“Eddie is training the house down and I’m highly delighted in him,” said Aston. “He’s come through the system here and shows how we are developing young, local players.
“There’s a good chance Eddie will make the team for the Rail Cup games if he keeps working like this in training.”
Battye is one of four local players promoted to the first team squad this season from the reserves.
He made his senior debut in the final game of the 2008 and was on standby for call-up as injuries hit the squad in the final games last year.
Sheffield Hallam University student Jamie Cottle, 20, is set for an early chance at fullback as Samoan international Misi Taulapapa continues his rehab following breaking an ankle.
Aston also hopes to give first team experience to centre Corey Hanson and prop Dan Hawksworth in the Northern Rail Cup group games that kick-off with a trip to Gateshead Thunder this Sunday.
The Eagles will start the season with a smaller number of senior players as part of a policy to bring on youngsters who have made progress through the reserve grades.
Aston added: “I have always wanted to develop our own players and we’ve added four young lads to the squad this year.
“We’re not going with a squad of 28 or 30 like we have in the past, it’s a 25-man squad plus those young lads who I want to develop and bring into the first team.”
n More that 150 representatives of cities and towns in England and Wales – including Sheffield – have attended briefing on bidding for games during the 2013 Rugby League Cup.
The Sheffield group included representatives from the Eagles, Sheffield United and the city council with Bramall Lane one of the front-runners to stage major games.
League officials will negotiate with potential host venues for the 14-nation tournament.