GRAND Final winners Sheffield Eagles have secured the future of forward Michael Knowles with a contract extension.
Coach Mark Aston revealed the deal only minutes after Knowles was named man-of-the-match following the victory over Featherstone Rovers.
It adds two years to the back row forward’s existing deal that runs out at the end of next season.
But Sam Scott who partnered Knowles in the second row played his last game for the club in the 20-16 win and is joining York Knights.
“Tubbs (Aston) tried to sign me when I was younger and I should have come here earlier; it’s a great club,” said Knowles. “All the squad’s hard work is paying off and come next year we’ll be the team to beat.
“I’d sign for another 10 (years) if they would pay me.”
Knowles, 25, joined the Eagles from Barrow Raiders at the start of the season and has played 27 games scoring 14 tries.
Aston said: “I’m delighted to give Michael the deal – he’s a ‘lifer’ now. He’s had a great season.”
Scott’s decision to join York is a blow with the 22-year-old former student international a regular in the team in the second half of the season.
He is the second player the Eagles have lost to York with half-back Simon Brown agreeing a deal last month.
The prospect of regular first team rugby was a factor in Scott’s decision. He said: “I’ve had a great time at Sheffield but I think it’s the right move. It’s a one year deal so we’ll see.”
The Eagles edged Rovers in an enthralling final 20-16 after defending resolutely in a frantic final 18 minutes.
Aston added: “We had the grit and we knew we would go to the final whistle. We’re elated and it’s a great achievement.”
Eagles must wait until 2014 for their first chance to apply for a place in the top flight. They were among the founder members of the Super League back in 1996.
Aston says the victory has justified all his efforts so far and he is hoping it can rekindle support for the game in south Yorkshire. “There are a lot of people out there who used to watch Sheffield when they were in Super League and they got disillusioned with it,” he said. “Hopefully this will relight the fire and they will come back.”
With their season over the Eagles squad have a week off before they link up again to be briefed on plans for the winter break.