Kris Welham, Anthony Thackeray and Joel Farrell all in contention for Sheffield Eagles captaincy

Not one, not two, but three players are in the running to captain Sheffield Eagles in the 2022 Betfred Championship campaign.

Friday, 7th January 2022, 6:00 am

Sheffield’s director of rugby Mark Aston has yet to decide on a successor to Matty James, who retired last year, but revealed he is not short of options ahead of the final decision in a few weeks before the season begins on 30 January.

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“There’s a number of people who have put their hand up but we haven’t finalised it,” he said.

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Anthony Thackeray is in the running to captain Sheffield Eagles next season, but faces competition from Joel Farrell and Kris Welham.

"There’s some candidates there; people like Anthony Thackeray, who’s probably in his last year. Joel Farrell is emerging as a leader, I think it helps him to have that responsibility.

"Kris Welham, you won’t look too far away from him.”

Thackeray, now 35, is currently vice-captain at the club, while 34-year-old Welham has been asked to mentor some of Sheffield’s younger players alongside fellow veteran Ben Jones-Bishop, who also boasts Super League experience.

At 27, Jamaica international Farrell is the outside bet with far less experience than the other candidates, but stated his intention to take on more responsibility after signing a new, two-year contract at the end of the 2021 campaign.

Aston has already expressed his delight with the contributions of his oven-ready players, but reserved praise for the next generation of future leaders in the Eagles’ dressing room.

"There’s some that over the next 12 months will develop into leaders,” he said.

"I wouldn’t want to pressure on them straight away coming in but I think there’s a number of people putting their hand up for years to come.

"I have been really impressed with Blake Broadbent. He’s getting better every year and has had a stellar pre-season.”

Young or old, however, all players have a set of non-negotiables they must abide by, which are set out in the players’ manual.

Among them are the usual rules to be expected, such as punctuality and respect, but the little things also count in Aston’s view - right down to the correct kit and water bottles.

He said: "There’s no training gear that isn’t Eagles-branded. We are as one, we need to look as one.

"These are the sort of things we are looking for and I have to say they have brought into it.”