Andre Payette has stoked the fire ahead of Sheffield Steeldogs’ league double-header against Telford Tigers this weekend, by claiming their EPL rivals are poaching the league’s best British talent.
After taking over Telford back in October, new owner Wayne Scholes vowed to lead the club ‘right to the very top’ and he has so far brought in Dan Davies, Dan Scott (Slough Jets) and British leading scorer Joe Miller (Basingstoke Bison) as he looks to deliver on his promise. Payette says that none of his players have been approached by Tigers.
And despite languishing at the bottom of the EPL table, Payette believes Telford will make the play-offs.
“Telford have really upgraded and improved and since they got their new owner in they are trying to buy the league,” Payette, the Steeldogs head coach, said.
“They have gone behind every other teams back offering double, maybe even triple what they are already getting. They will make the play-offs this season and it’s going to be a real battle this weekend.”
Steeldogs go into this weekend on the back of a 4-2 victory over Bracknell Bees, and a narrow 7-6 over time defeat to Milton Keynes Lightning.
Payette was without a number of his key individuals - including Ben Morgan, Tim Smith and Steve Duncan against Milton Keynes - and consequently fielded 17-year-old Tom Berry.
Despite the narrow loss, though, Payette said he was left satisfied by the two performances and praised the ‘heart and character’ of his players.
“The Bracknell game was physical and that style of play suited us. We dominated the game,” Payette added.
“Against Milton Keynes, we showed a lot of heart and character because we had a few key players missing. The team put in a great performance and I am happy with what I saw.
“We’re expecting a big crowd against Telford, we probably hate them more than we do any other team, and we are expecting a great game.”