Sheffield Eagles: Controversial decision defended

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Sheffield Eagles moving to a full-time set-up had little bearing on the club’s decision to disband their reserve team, according to development director Ian Annis.

Following a recent failed bid to become a tier two Academy, the Eagles took the decision that there was no pathway through to their reserve set-up, leading to the tough call to scrap the second string altogether.

Supporters have raised concerns to The Star this week that going full-time has had a financial impact on the club’s infrastructure, but Annis told The Star that part-time or full-time the same result was always likely.

“Going full-time hasn’t had any direct impact on the decision at all,” he told The Star. “Had we stayed part-time there would still have been an application process for the Academy status, we would have applied and in my opinion we still wouldn’t have got it.”

Funding from the RFL for tier two Academies is restricted to four successful applications. The Eagles were overlooked in part due to not having a permanent home, and through their location in an area of the country where participation levels in the game are lower.

Annis has confirmed that the Eagles did appeal against the initial decision, but the club, though frustrated, have accepted the reasons from the authorities for their rejection.

Meanwhile, the Eagles Challenge Cup fourth round tie against Swinton Lions has been confirmed for Saturday 19th March, kick off 3.30pm at Sheffield Hallam University Sports Park on Bawtry Road. The game will mark Mark Aston’s 500th as head coach of the Eagles.