Sheffield Eagles have been given a huge boost ahead of their clash with Batley Bulldogs on Sunday, with Michael Knowles and Keith Senior both penning new deals.
Second-rower Knowles has signed a deal until the end of 2016 whilst former favourite Senior has put pen-to-paper on a full-time three-year deal to work as a coach, as well as being tasked with several other duties behind the scenes.
Knowles, 27, has been with the Eagles since 2012 whilst Senior enjoyed a stellar five-year playing career with the club between 1994 and 1999, before moving onto Leeds Rhinos where he has also worked behind the scenes following his retirement.
The news comes prior to Sunday’s showdown with John Kear’s Batley where the Eagles will be looking to make it three wins from four Kingstone Press Championship games.
“We are highly delighted to keep hold of Michael,” beamed Director of Rugby Mark Aston.
“He is a quality player and opponents hate playing against him because he is a born winner. We are delighted to have tied up the deal because he will be a big player for us going forward. We are looking to the future as well as the present and players like Michael are still young and still have development in them.”
Whilst Knowles’ deal affects solely the playing aspect, Senior’s role is set to take on several strands involving the coaching, community and commercial side of the club.
“There will be three strands to Keith’s role at the club,” Aston explains.
“Obviously he will be playing a big role on the coaching side but he is also taking on an ambassador role for the foundation which is something similar to the job he has done for Leeds Rhinos over the past couple of years.
“The final part of his role will be on the corporate side of the club which I know is something that he really enjoys. It is fantastic to have him back around the place.”
News of Knowles’ deal was slightly tainted by Aston revealing he will miss the game with Batley tomorrow at The Keepmoat (4.15pm) after picking up an ankle problem, with John Davies set to deputise against his former club.
“It was great news that Michael re-signed but unfortunately he has broke a bone in his foot which will keep him out for a week or two,” Aston added.
The Eagles will also be without Jon Molloy (ankle) whilst Kyle Briggs (groin) and Tony Tonks (virus) are also doubtful.