One of many close season arrivals, Knowles, amongst others, was tasked by Aston to provide a missing ring of steel to the Eagles, which deserted them for much of the 2018 campaign.
Alongside the likes of uncompromising Joel Farrell and seasoned centre Jason Crookes, Knowles has given the Eagles a tougher exterior in the opening three rounds of the 2019 campaign – with Aston’s side boasting an impressive 100% record.
The hard-hitting forward more than most has symbolised the Eagles’ nose to the grindstone attitude, bagging a try in the recent victory over Bradford whilst playing with a cracked rib.
“Brad Knowles has played 60 to 65 minutes with a cracked rib which he picked up at Barrow. That’s some going,” Aston explained to The Star.
“He's played with painkillers, and he went down towards the end but he got up and carried on. I just think epitomised us as a whole.
“When you have people like Brad and Matt James - and Greg Burns was great too – Faz (Joel Farrell), Browny (Aaron Brown) etc. I think they all complement each other. There is a bit of Sheffield steel about us which has been lacking of late. We have got it back. It was a great crowd, great atmosphere, and a great result for Sheffield Eagles.”
Knowles was a major doubt for the visit of the Bulls, and Aston also confirmed that despite coming through the contest, the ex-Featherstone powerhouse could be rested for the trip to Widnes Vikings on Sunday.
But the gutsy 25-year-old is likely to put himself on the front-line once again if he is called upon, with Aston hailing his never-say-die approach.
He added: “We'll have a look at him. He went out to work after the game on the roads. That's the guy he is. He'll be tender. Knowing him like I know him, he'll have had a few beers on Saturday night, and he'll still be feeling the injury Sunday. We managed him through last week. We just need to be smart as coaches and maybe look at whether it is time to pull him.
“Give him a break, freshen him up for Friday night and let someone else have a go. That maybe the case, but we also need to keep this momentum going. We're enjoying winning. It has been great.”