Returning stars Pat Walker and James Davey are leading the new and improved dressing room culture at Sheffield Eagles, according to their coach Mark Aston
Aston made signing players who helped forge the Eagles’ modern day reputation as one of his top priorities for this season, with Davey and Walker returning to the flock from fellow Championship side Batley.
The duo have been tasked with helping restore the dressing room camaraderie which formed the bedrock of their back-to-back Grand Final success in 2012 and 2013.
With Aston adding a smattering of experienced campaigners to his youthful looking squad, the Eagles chief knows that having the right leaders is key after his class of 2018 often looked fragile under pressure last season.
“They have bought into it, and they have signed up to the script for what we stand for,” Aston told The Star.
“They are the type of people that I have been missing. It's great to have Pat Walker and Jimmy Davey back here. They know what I want, they know what I am about and they have slotted straight back into the fold. They are working hard, and they are also leading. That's one of the things that we have tried to instil into pre-season.”
Aston has been encouraged by the early weeks of pre-season, and has knitted his new-look squad together quickly as he looks to avoid being left in the starting gate in 2019.
Over the past two seasons late recruitment has ensured slow starts to the campaign, but Aston says his current group are hitting their straps early as preparations for next season continue.
“We have trained this last few weeks and I can say for certain, we have a squad here,” he added.
“I couldn't say that last year. I kept talking about a group which we struggled for last season, but already we have a lot of back-slapping and it just feels like we got something here already which we tried to get for all of last season.”
Meanwhile, the Eagles have confirmed that they have surpassed last season’s membership sales. The early bird offer ended on November 29th, but the club have been pleased with figures so far which should ensure crowds will be up for 2019.
Former player Simon Brown has signed for fellow Championship side Dewsbury Rams after leaving the Eagles at the end of last season.