Sheffield Eagles have confirmed they will enter into a dual registration partnership with Super League newcomers Leigh Centurions for the 2017 season.
The move will see director of rugby and acting CEO Mark Aston use the system for the first time, after being a long standing critic over a number of years.
Circumstances though have forced Aston’s hand. The Eagles’ off the field troubles have been well documented, and whilst they are quickly adding new faces to their squad, they are likely to be down on numbers next season.
With a long-term resolution still to be finalised, the use of the dual registration system will allow Aston to replenish numbers, without the financial burden of signing on more new faces.
“We’d like to thank Neil (Jukes) and Derek (Beaumont) at Leigh for agreeing to dual registration with Sheffield Eagles, we are indebted to them and it will greatly assist us this season,” said Aston.
“We have never used dual registration before and my opinions on it, which are well documented, don’t change. However, after a very tough six months we haven’t got a massive squad and this agreement will add some quality players to our team.
“The players will be available for training with us through the week, allowing us to be much more prepared for matches than if they were only available for game days, which is a huge bonus for us.”
Leigh were promoted to Super League last season after an impressive Super 8 campaign which saw them plunder six victories to secure their return to the top flight.
Head coach Jukes confirmed he gave his backing to the agreement, after a productive meeting with Aston which he described as ‘a perfect fit for both clubs’.
“After meeting Mark Aston it become quite clear that flexible access for our players to play games at a high standard this year, as well as genuinely contributing to Sheffield Eagles, was a perfect fit for both clubs, especially after our decision to delay reserve grade rugby for one more year,” he said.
“Besides the invaluable positives the players get from solid minutes on the field, it is also vitally important they continue to develop and improve and through Mark and his coaching staff. I know this will happen.
“We know first-hand how a dual agreement works and after long discussions with Mark it was clear that we were both on the same page so it made sense to give it a go for the 2017 season.
“We look forward to working with Mark and his team and hope we can assist in helping them reach their goals.”