Sheffield Eagles have confirmed a dual-registration agreement with Super League heavyweights St. Helens.
The Eagles mutually agreed to terminate a similar arrangement with Leigh Centurions at the start of this week, in favour of a new partnership with Saints.
Despite early success, an injury crisis with the Centurions has seen a dearth of players being made available to the Eagles, leading to the amicable split which has paved the way for this latest development.
The Eagles have enjoyed a solid relationship with Saints which has seen Jake Spedding and Jack Owens arrive on loan deals already this season.
Director of rugby Mark Aston, who has been heavily critical of their last two displays which have resulted in heavy defeats, had promised to shake-up his ailing side.
Now he has confirmed he will have significant numbers from his new partners, who have also agreed a dual-registration agreement with the Eagles for 2018.
“I expect that there will be four players coming from St. Helens for the weekend, and they will play,” Aston told The Star.
“We have good links with players like Matty Fozard, Jake Spedding and Jack Owens coming to us from there.
“This fits well with the club. The lads we already have will have spoken to the guys at Saints, and they are keen to be part of this journey as well. To help us and to help themselves develop.
“I need three or four players every week. I knew that at the start of the season.
“We hoped that would be with Leigh, but injuries prevented that. St. Helens have players that they can offer me every week.
“That will give me the competition, because the players we will getting will have played in Super League, they aren’t coming to make the numbers up.”
Aston confirmed that there was no bad blood with Leigh, despite both side’s frustration that they couldn’t make their partnership work.
The Eagles chief was full of admiration for the Centurions, and thanked them for their efforts in difficult circumstances.
“Leigh have had an horrendous time with injuries,” Aston added.
“We’re indebted to them for joining up with us in the beginning, and it certainly helped us at the start. Every team gets injuries, and at this moment in time it is difficult because of their situation. Derek (Beaumont) and Neil (Jukes) have been fantastic, and they have agreed that this was best to help us carry on with our development.”