Sheffield Eagles Director of Rugby Mark Aston has challenged his players to show that they are worthy of a full-time deal next season.
The Eagles will be returning to a fully fledged full-time operation from November, with Aston forging ahead with plans to put together a squad to match the step up.
Aston’s side began their Super 8 campaign last weekend with a heavy defeat to Bradford Bulls and Aston is asking his squad to show that they can mix it with full-time opposition and justify their place in the Eagles’ ranks.
“We have players that can stand up and handle the environment” Aston said. “We are recruiting and there will be players that we are letting go. The players against Bradford didn’t do themselves any favours and whether they will be staying or going remains to be seen.
“I thought Steve Thorpe was immense, and showed that he is capable of playing at the required level. I thought that Menzie Yere was strong too, and Michael Knowles does a good job week in, week out, but how many others against Bradford stood up? I am not happy to stand still here. This year we have done well by getting to third in the league but I am not happy to come out of this middle eight embarrassed.”
Aston has urged his players to use the Super 8 fixtures to showcase their talents, as he looks to put the final pieces together for an exciting future for the club.
“I think most of the decisions have been made, but there are one or two that we aren’t quite there with yet,” Aston revealed.
“We’ll be talking to individuals over the next few weeks but obviously we are in negotiations with other players and we want better than what we have got if we can. We need the players that come in to be able to handle full-time because that is where we are heading. We need to raise the bar and players need to be able to cope with the increased level.”