SHEFFIELD Eagles have moved swiftly to fill the vacant half-back slot for next season by signing Pat Walker from rivals Dewsbury Rams.
Walker – nicknamed Patch - has agreed a two-year deal and is in line to replace Simon Brown who has been recruited by York Knights.
“Pat’s got a good pedigree and has played at this level for a number of years,” said coach Mark Aston. “His skills are good, he’s got a good kicking game and his attitude is good. With Simon deciding to go to York he has the chance to fill that gap.”
Walker, 26, has been with the Rams for six seasons playing more than 100 games and scoring around 750 points mainly from place kicks.
The partnership Walker built with Eagles’ scrum-half Dominic Brambani in the two seasons they were together at Dewsbury was a factor in Aston targeting the player.
“He knows Dom’s game and there’s no doubt there’s potential,” said Aston. “We’ll work hard to get Pat out of some of his habits and improve when he has the ball in his hands.”
Aston has also tied up one of the key members of the squad with Joe Hirst signing a new two-year contract ahead of the second round Championship play-off game at Halifax on Sunday.
Back row forward Hirst, 25,has played 80 games since joining from Featherstone Rovers in 2009.
“Joe’s a great kid. It’s good that he’s agreed to stay,” said Aston. “He’s had a bit of misfortune with his knee but we’ve rested it and tried to get him ready for the play-offs. He came back and scored a couple of tries the other day and he’ll play at Halifax.”
Hirst is set to have knee surgery at the end of the season. Aston revealed that prop Jack Howieson and fullback Quentin Laulu-Togagae also face similar ops.
“It’s only a cartilage, the others Jack and QLT (Laulu-Togagae) need theirs done but it’s only minor tidy up ops.”