Sheffield Eagles learn from Rotherham United experience

Sheffield Eagles Quentin Laula Togagae in action earlier this year
Sheffield Eagles Quentin Laula Togagae in action earlier this year
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Sheffield Eagles will still have the option of using some of South Yorkshire’s bigger sporting venues should the opportunity for large-crowd events arise next season.

The Eagles last week confirmed that they will be playing their home fixtures for the 2016 season at Sheffield Hallam University Sports Park.

The venue which will have to undergo a revamp in order for it to meet Rugby Football League standards in time for the start of the 2016 campaign in February.

The plan is to have a temporary stand installed with 1,000 covered seats to take the overall capacity to close to 3,000 spectators.

Last season, the Eagles played their home league games at Doncaster’s Keepmoat Stadium, and their Challenge Cup and two Super 8 fixtures at Bramall Lane, and director of rugby Mark Aston says that he still holds a good understanding with both organisations should the Eagles require a bigger venue next season.

“We still have a good relationship with plenty of people,” Aston told The Star.

“I certainly don’t want to burn any bridges in terms of using potential venues.

“I am sure that Doncaster will help us if we need them, and we have used Bramall Lane in the past too.

“It is a still an option, it is still something we can talk about, we have kept a good relationship with Kevin McCabe and he has been very helpful to us in the past.”

Following the end of the 2015 campaign speculation was rife that the Eagles would move back to Bramall Lane permanently, until their new home is completed on the site of the old Don Valley Stadium.

Whilst talks did take place about the possibility of a switch, Aston confirmed that the size of Bawtry Road coupled with its availability for the full round of Championship fixtures, persuaded him it was the move best suited to the Eagles’ interests.

“It is the right size, it will generate atmosphere,” Aston said of their new home.

“You only have to look at Rotherham United and see what they have done.

“The facility fits in with what they want and the crowds have gone up, and that’s how you develop a sports club.

“There was scope to play a number of games at Bramall Lane, that’s what was said to us, but you want to really play the full season in one venue. They would have opened up the door for a number of games, but it would have had to fit around certain aspects.”