Sheffield Eagles director Mark Aston has confirmed that club skipper Steve Thorpe will be returning to his native Australia at the end of the season.
Thorpe is one of three further confirmed players to be departing, with Aston also stating that long-serving Michael Knowles and hooker Keal Carlile will also be leaving. Whilst the Eagles are in talks regarding a takeover, they are in no position to offer fresh terms to their out-of-x contract players, resulting in a number of their current squad looking elsewhere to secure their futures.
“There are people like Thorpe who has informed us that he is leaving to go back to Australia, because his partner has already gone back for work reasons,” Aston said. “He has decided now that he is also going to return at the end of the year. There are players like Keal Carlile and Michael Knowles. I believe that they are going somewhere else as well. There are a few who are going, and if we don’t get things sorted out quickly then I am sure that there will be a few more. It could be all of them if we don’t sort things out shortly.”
The club has confirmed that direct talks with their preferred investor and the council have now begun. A takeover now looks possible for November, with the club looking to secure funds in the meantime to try and bridge the funding gap.
The potential new owner will take over the Eagles if he can get an agreement in principle with the council over an area of land where he wants to expand his green energy business.
Thorpe departs the Eagles after enjoying a two-year stint where he picked up the player of the year gong in his first season, and was then made skipper during the course of the current campaign.
Carlile has also enjoyed just short of two years with the club after arriving from Hull KR.
Knowles, a former vice-captain, has been with the club for four years and has been a mainstay in their recent success.