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Sheffield Eagles: Mark Aston eager to extend St Helens partnership

Jake Spedding has been a big success of Sheffield Eagles' dual reg relationship with St Helens
Jake Spedding has been a big success of Sheffield Eagles' dual reg relationship with St Helens

Sheffield Eagles director of rugby Mark Aston says he wants to extend the club’s dual-registration agreement with St Helens, as he waits to sit down with the Super League heavyweights.

After a tough 2018 campaign, the support from the Super League leaders has proved vital in Aston’s bid to secure Championship survival, with the likes of Jake Spedding, Jack Ashworth, Matty Costello, James Bentley and Matty Lees all featuring regularly on dual-registration this season.

With Aston reshaping his squad for next season, he sees a future partnership with Saints as key to his plans with the 14-team division set to be even tougher in 2019.

The Eagles chief is now waiting for a date to begin discussions as he again looks to boost his numbers with some of Super League’s most promising youngsters.

"St Helens came to us and knocked on our door to see if we would do it 18-months ago, so we obviously would love to keep that going,” Aston told The Star.

“We are just waiting to have that meeting, once we have the meeting we'll know whether it is on or not.

“They'll still need somewhere for their players to play at a high level, and we know that we will have a better squad next season.

“If St Helens want it to work then we'll make it work, there is no doubt about it.”

Aston has already confirmed hooker James Davey’s return on a two-year deal, but any hopes of adding Spedding to his ranks permanently ended when the centre signed for Barrow.

The Eagles have been linked with a host of other former stars, with Aston stating he has at least six names nailed down for 2019.

The Eagles chief hopes that the exposure given last season will convince Saints to go again next season, with all dual-reg performers going on to feature at some stage for Saints’ first-team.

“Some of these kids that have been with us, the likes of Matty Lees, Jack Ashworth, Jake Spedding, Matty Costello and James Bentley - they have been great for us,” he added.

“For Matty Lees to be playing in the number of games he has played in now, it is great.

“They have been a pleasure and they still turn up at our games, they still class us as part of their DNA.”

Meanwhile, youngster Max Garcia will return to France next season after agreeing a deal with Championship club Albi.