The Sheffield Eagles-St Helens connection looks to have paid dividends again after former Saints youngster Mike Weldon became Mark Aston’s latest addition.
It was conversations with current dual-registration star Matty Costello that paved the way for Weldon to enter discussions with the Eagles, resulting in the back-rower agreeing an initial one-month trial with the club.
Director of rugby Aston is looking to nail down a longer stay for the former St Helens under 19 skipper, after he made his Eagles bow in the Summer Bash victory over Barrow Raiders last Saturday.
After last season’s dual-registration struggles with Leigh Centurions, the current deal with Saints has regularly seen the likes of Costello, Matty Lees, James Bentley, Jack Ashworth and Jake Spedding make big contributions for Aston’s side this season.
Now those connections have offered a chance for Weldon, and Aston has been impressed with what he’s seen so far on and off the field.
“He has shown up well in the last week to 10 days, and he has offered enough to suggest he has plenty of potential,” Aston explained to The Telegraph.
“He has got real energy. He is tall, he is rangy and he will fill out and get better. It is there for us to see. He certainly has the enthusiasm and the work rate that we are looking for.
“He has impressed me.”
Costello held the key to Weldon’s introduction after the versatile operator brought the name to the Eagles staff.
A few phone calls later and Weldon found himself making his debut at Blackpool, as the victory over the Raiders moved the Eagles four points clear of the Championship drop zone.
Whilst Weldon was close to a deal with Saints, it is the Eagles who are offering him a second chance with Aston keen on tying him down to a longer contract.
“I like the look of him so we are keen to get him tied down now to something as soon as we can for at least the next year or so,” he continued.
“He has grown up with players like Costello and others. He has played in the reserves at St Helens, and I believe he was very close to getting a full-time contract with them but in the end it didn’t quite happen, but they thought really highly of him. The relationship with Saints and the boys as well is bearing fruit.”
On his arrival in South Yorkshire, Weldon added:
“Sheffield have a few Saints boys, one of them being Matty Costello and he said something to them about me being a good player when he played with me at the (St Helens) Academy.
“Matt rang me up about coming down. I met Mark and Ged, and that ended up with me training and they said for me to come down for a few sessions in the future.
“All the Sheffield boys are really good lads so even if I hadn’t known the Saints there, I would have fitted in really well.”
The Eagles have some down time with no Championship action this weekend, before the season resumes with a showdown with Swinton on June 10th.