The exodus from Sheffield Eagles continues with star man Cory Aston joining Super League heavyweights Leeds Rhinos for an undisclosed fee.
The 21-year-old, son of current director of rugby Mark Aston, joins Adam Neal and George Tyson through the exit door as the Eagles lose another shining light of last season’s resurgence.
Aston has long been linked with a step up to rugby league’s top table after being nurtured through the Eagles youth-team structure, which has since been disbanded as the club look to rebuild from the ground up.
While it will be a wrench to leave for the Sheffield-born ace, it has become clear that the youngster has the potential to play much higher.
“I have been at Sheffield all my life and obviously only had one coach in my dad, so it will be a fresh start with a different voice and new concepts and systems about how to play the game,” said Cory.
“I am excited about the challenge of playing in Super League and testing myself in training and in games against the best players around.”
While the Eagles continue to put together their off -field affairs, Aston, now also acting CEO, has been forced to stand by as out-of-contract stars like Keal Carlile, Nathan Chappell, Rob Worrincy and Michael Knowles have joined some of the Eagles’ Championship rivals.
Now with his contracted players like Neal and Tyson also returning to Oldham, plus Cory’s exit, it would seem that another close-season overhaul will be required for Aston’s side.
“I am delighted for Cory that he has this opportunity to play in Super League with one of the biggest clubs in the country,” Aston said.
“It shows that perseverance and hard work can help you realise your ambitions. He has taken a different pathway by playing in the Championship at a young age but that will stand him in good stead and hopefully lead to a long and successful career at Leeds Rhinos.”
The half-back has played 69 times for the Eagles since making his debut in 2013 aged just 18. He signed a five-year deal with the club in 2015, and last season played 34 times, also taking over the main kicking duties.