Stretched Eagles seek cover in the backs

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SHEFFIELD Eagles’ coach Mark Aston will step up his hunt for new players this week to boost his squad.

The search for experienced cover in the backs was given new impetus by the team’s 68-6 hammering at Leigh Centurions.

Aston is ready to look at loan players and may consider at least one player who was released at the end of last season.

“We will have a look this week – there are a few things we need to look at,” he said. “Whether it is somebody who has been here before or whether it is somebody from outside who comes in we’ll see.”

Aston could consider re-signing Ashley Thackeray who has been playing amateur rugby in Hull since his release by the Eagles. Thackeray would provide experienced cover across the backs.

Injuries and delays in Samoan internationals Misi Taulapapa and Quentin Laulu-Togagae getting UK entry visas has left the squad stretched.

Experienced half-backs Simon Brown and Kyle Wood plus powerhouse second row forward Alex Szostak were also sidelined for the Leigh game.

The starting line-up at Leigh included 18-year-old Corey Hanson and two other players who had only played three senior games between them.

“We haven’t got a massive squad and we were down to 18 players at Leigh to pick from,” said Aston.

“It makes it tough, you have to ask a lot from people who haven’t played at this level and have to play people out of position. That has an impact.”

Aston has confirmed that the club has released Benn Hardcastle without playing a game for the club. Hardcastle was signed from Hull KR reserve squad as cover at half-back and his loss has further reduced Aston’s options early in the season.

Aston said: “Benn has left the club. He was a young lad I brought in with the hope of developing but he’s found it tough travelling from Hull.”

Meanwhile Sheffield-born Rob Powell is celebrating a great start to his career as coach of Harlequins RL after his team’s second victory in the Super League. London side Quins beat Crusaders 20-18 at the Stoop.