Former skipper Mitch Stringer says he leaves Sheffield Eagles with no animosity after his recent switch to Yorkshire rivals Dewsbury Rams.
The long-serving prop has been out of favour for the majority of the Eagles’ disappointing 2016 campaign, but leaves a club who he has served with distinction over two spells in South Yorkshire.
Stringer refused to be drawn on the reasons for his departure.
But did admit he was ‘devastated’ to lose the captaincy this season, as Eagles’ director of rugby Mark Aston looked to make radical team-changes in a bid to transform his struggling side’s fortunes.
Aston spoke publicly about Stringer’s disappointment at losing the armband, and after not featuring in his match-day squad since the defeat to Workington, a parting of the ways looked inevitable.
“I was obviously devastated,” Stringer told The Star.
“I was immensely proud of being the captain, being a fan and playing virtually all my career there.
“I was really devastated, but that is life, there is nothing I can do about it now but I will always look back at my time with the club fondly and keep track of their progress.”
A key component in much of the Eagles recent success, Stringer played a valuable role in the back-to-back Championship Grand Final success, and also enjoyed a position off the field as the club’s scholarship coach.
He admits he leaves with many fond memories from his time with his boyhood club, and his departure comes with a heavy heart.
“I am proud with what I have achieved at Sheffield,” added the 32-year-old, who also indicated that he is looking to prolong his career for at least two more years.
“I started out there as a 16-year-old and came through the Academy, and then to be captain and lift the Championship trophy was fantastic.
“I have made many friends at Sheffield; I have been there for most of my career.
“I supported the team as a child, so it is really sad to leave but I have to move on now and it is now about getting back to enjoying my rugby and getting back to my best again.
“I spent a lot of time with Sheffield and almost became part of the furniture. It is now about new surroundings with a new set of team mates and I think that will now bring the best out of me.”