Sheffield Eagles have been given a major boost with player of the year Steve Thorpe on course to be fit for the beginning of the 2016 season.
Thorpe’s successful debut season in South Yorkshire was ended prematurely when he sustained a serious injury after breaking his leg in the Super 8 encounter against Widnes Vikings, in August.
After spending time back in his native Australia during the close season, the front rower has been put through a carefully planned rehabilitation process which has given him a realistic chance of being fit for the beginning of the new campaign which starts next month.
“He is back in training and he is doing most of pre-season,” director of rugby Mark Aston told The Star.
“His fitness is very good which we expect; he just has the next barrier in front of him now.
“It is only four months (since the injury), but we expected a six month absence, so he has another important month ahead of him, but I don’t think he will be far away from being fit for the beginning of the season.”
Thorpe is regarded as a key figure in the Eagles’ long term success by the coaching hierarchy, impressing sufficiently last season to earn a two-year contract extension after spending just weeks with the club.
The 26-year-old player’s expected early return will give Aston a plethora of options with ten new faces added during the close season, with at least two more expected to arrive ahead of the opening day pilgrimage to Workington Town on February 7th.
“He is a model professional is Steve, and he will do whatever he can do to get himself back as quick as possible,” Aston confirmed.
“Mitch (Stringer) is training better now so he is looking well, and then you have Scott Wheeldon and Matt James doing well, and young Jack Blagbrough has really impressed during our pre-season too.
“There is plenty of competition these days in the front row which is very important because it keeps everyone on their toes, and that’s the way it should be.”