Sheffield Eagles director Mark Aston says he did make an attempt to lure former ace Keal Carlile back to the club prior to his move to League One Newcastle.
Aston has already brought back ex-Eagle James Davey to his flock with a promise of more former Eagles returning as he attempts to recreate the dressing room atmosphere of the past.
Carlile, an Eagle between 2015 and 2016, has enjoyed a successful stint with Featherstone Rovers over the past two years, and Aston sensed an opportunity to work again with a player he lost only through the club’s ill-fated switch to a full-time operation.
Aston says he spoke to Carlile regarding a return for 2019, but conceded that he couldn’t compete with Newcastle on a deal, with Thunder expected to push for a run at promotion next season.
“We'd have loved to have Keal back, without a shadow of a doubt,” Aston explained.
“Money talks though at the end of the day, and he has got by far a better deal than what we could afford to do with him. Would I have wanted him back? Yes, because he is a good bloke. I want good people next year. It will all be about that next year - good people who want to work and want to commit to what we are trying to do. We would have liked him but obviously Newcastle are going for it next year, and he has signed there.”
With names still to be revealed, what is certain is Aston’s confidence that he will have a much stronger hand next season.
Despite missing out on Carlile, and former St Helens ace Jake Spedding to Barrow, Aston is pleased with the ones he has got, with announcements expected as early as next week.
Spedding’s move to Barrow will have raised eyebrows, with Aston a long-standing admirer after featuring for the Eagles on loan and dual-registration over the past two seasons.
Again Aston said it was terms he couldn’t match, as Championship teams gear up for what is set to be a much tougher competition in 2019.
“Jake is great kid. We enjoyed him, he enjoyed us,” Aston added.
“At the end of the day we cannot match that kind of money. He goes with our blessing. He'll go up there and he'll be a massive asset for them.”