Sheffield Eagles have landed Super League regular Scott Wheeldon on a three-year deal from Castleford Tigers.
The Eagles swooped for the experienced prop forward to further bolster their ranks for next season, with director of rugby Mark Aston revealing that the 29-year-old turned down an offer to stay at The Jungle.
Aston also confirmed the Eagles fended off late interest from Bradford Bulls to secure a deal for the former Hull FC, Hull KR and London Broncos operator.
“It is a massive coup that he has signed for us because Castleford were willing to offer him a new deal, Bradford also came in for him at the last minute, but we offered him a three-year deal,” Aston told The Star.
“Scott has played 200 plus Super League games. He has always been in Super League during his career so he brings with him a wealth of experience, and he also brings a huge desire to succeed.”
Wheeldon starred in the 2006 Super League Grand Final for Hull FC in their defeat to St Helens, and also played in the 2014 Challenge Cup final for Castleford at Wembley.
In a season disrupted by injury he still managed 15 appearances in 2015 for Daryl Powell’s Tigers, and Aston revealed he conferred with his former Eagles’ team mate before completing a deal for the Hull-born powerhouse.
“I spoke with Daryl Powell, who is a very close friend of mine, and spoke with Liam Finn (Castleford’s Irish international) and they cannot speak any higher of the guy,” Aston confirmed.
“They have told me great things about his professionalism, and how he approaches training and how he conducts himself. This is what we need here. We are going into a different era and we need players who will put the right message out there and we know Scott will do that for us.”
Wheeldon will link up with his new team mates, which includes fellow new recruits Adam Neal, George Tyson, Matty Fozard, Matt James and Mark Mexico this morning, with more new faces expected through the door.
“Following my meetings with him, I have to say I am really excited about this signing,” Aston concluded.
“With the likes of Scott Wheeldon, and others, coming into this club we have certainly got a different calibre of players in the squad this year.”