MISSING fullback Misi Taulapapa could make a dramatic return to Sheffield Eagles by the middle of next month.
Coach Mark Aston says he has not given up on the Samoan international rejoining the squad.
There could be a double boost for the Eagles if former centre James Ford can be brought in from Widnes Vikings.
“Lots of things could happen in the squad in the next couple of weeks,” said Aston.
“Misi tells me he’s coming back, he posted on his Facebook page ‘Get ready Sheffield, I’m on my way back’ so we will see.”
Taulapapa was the Eagles’ player of the year last season. He returned to New Zealand at the end of last year to complete his recovery from a broken ankle. He has faced delays in renewing his UK visa and has been training and playing with a local team in Auckland.
If his visa comes through he could be back in Sheffield for the next home game against Leigh Centurions on Sunday 15 May.
Ford has been told that he is surplus to Widnes’s plans as they build a squad to play in the Super League next season.
Aston is also interested in two of the other players not being offered new contracts, half-back Anthony Thackeray and hooker Kirk Netherton: “We’re watching what’s happening with Jimmy and the other Widnes lads but Widnes have the players contracts so it’s up to them,” said Aston.
Ford would give added options in the centres where Aston has been relying on loan player Jason Crookes to partner Menzie Yere. The former Featherstone and Castleford player scored 48 tries in 77 games for the Eagles but has never reproduced that form at Widnes.