Woodcock may return to club

Training: Jonny Woodcock.
Training: Jonny Woodcock.
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FULLBACK Jonny Woodcock could return to Sheffield Eagles after taking a ‘cooling off’ break from the professional game.

A knee injury wiped out most of the last season for the 29-year-old who decided he needed time to think about his future.

Woodcock was not included in the squad for the new season but has joined the Eagles at pre-season training in recent weeks.

His return would give coach Mark Aston experienced cover at fullback with Samoan international Misi Taulapapa still recovering from a broken ankle in New Zealand.

“We have had conversations. Jonny has been down to training a couple of times for physio” said Aston.

“His injury is sorted but we need to know if he has the hunger back and wants to play. It is an option but he wouldn’t be able to play in the Rail Cup games.”

Woodcock was key squad member in recent seasons. He joined the Eagles from Doncaster in 2006 and played 107 games, scoring 918 points from 365 goals and 47 tries. Last season he was restricted to only six games early in the season before having major knee reconstruction surgery.

Jamie Cottle, 20, who made his debut in the play-off semi-final defeat at Halifax in September, is set to start at fullback against Gateshead.

Samoan internationals Taulapapa and new signing Quentin Laulu-Togagae are expected to get their UK visas in the next two weeks and Aston hopes to have them at the club by the end of the month.

The delay has left the squad looking short of cover in the backs although Aston has played down speculation that he could re-sign Ashley Thackeray. The winger, released last season, has recovered from knee surgery and has been playing regularly for top amateur club East Hull.

Norfolk Park teenager and Hallam University student Corey Hansen is on standby to partner Menzie Yere in the centres at Gateshead.

Papua New Guinea international Yere who returned to Sheffield late in December, has cleared the final hurdle in getting his visa renewed after he passed an English language test last week. Half-back or hooker Matty Brooks, released by the Eagles at the end of last season, has joined Dewsbury Rams.