Sheffield Eagles upset after Castleford Tigers pre-season game vanishes from fixture list

Eagles' players celebrate
Eagles' players celebrate

Sheffield Eagles director Mark Aston says his side are still planning for pre-season friendlies, but they won’t be taking on Super League side Castleford Tigers as had been hoped.

The Eagles announced in 2017 that the deal struck with Castleford for winger Garry Lo, would include a pre-season showdown between the two sides in 2019.

The fixture was seen by the Eagles as key to the deal, and presented an opportunity to gain  some  vital revenue.

Since the deal was announced Steve Gill departed the Tigers from his role as chief executive, and Aston says he’s discovered the game has now been scrapped. “I am disappointed with the way things have gone regarding the friendly against Castleford,” Aston told The Star.

“I am going to be making that clear, and we are going to see if we can have a conversation regarding what we are going to do about it because everyone knew that there was an agreement in place for Sheffield to play, but it won’t happen now. They have changed their CEO, but that agreement doesn't go away as well. They have closed shop on it, so we'll have to see what happens.”

Aston has put together a new look side for 2019, with the season starting next month. Despite never being a big advocate of pre-season outings, the influx of 14 new faces over the close season has left the Eagles chief keen to find some competitive action before the season opener with Swinton on February 3.

With a dual-registration deal with St. Helens now looking increasingly unlikely, and with a showdown with Castleford now not on the table, Aston is in talks with a couple of sides regarding a run out with the 51-year-old hopeful of an announcement shortly.

"I thought for a while we'd have St Helens and Cas, but that's not going to happen now,” he added.

“I am waiting on a couple of others which will hopefully be confirmed by the beginning of next week. 

“We'll need to have something resolved (with Castleford), whether we play them next year I don't know.”

Meanwhile, Aston confirmed he will announce the captain and vice-captain in due course. Matty James has successfully held the position as skipper for the past two seasons, but last season’s vice-captain Matty Fozard has moved on to London.