Sheffield Eagles expect to come to a conclusion over the future of versatile centre Joshua Toole by the end of this week.
The Irish international has been one of Mark Aston’s top performers this season after narrowly being pipped to the Player of the Year gong by winger Ben Blackmore.
Director Aston has made no secret of his desire to keep hold of the former Mount Pritchard Mounties ace, but as yet there has been no confirmation of where Toole will be playing his rugby next season.
Aston says initially the odds looked stacked against the Eagles keeping hold of the 28-year-old, but the Eagles chief has since held further discussions with the Aussie-born operator, with a decision expected shortly as the 2018 season draws to a close this Sunday.
“I think we'll have a decision this week from Josh about what he is doing going forward,” Aston said. “He is a quite an honest and straight forward guy, so he'll let us know. His mind was made up but I have chatted with him and we have lit a bit of a candle inside of him since then. We’ll wait and see.”
Aston has wasted no time in moving ahead with his plans for next season, with former Eagle James Davey already confirmed after signing a two-year deal.
Eagles have seven players from their current group contracted for next season, but the likes of Max Garcia, Jon Magrin and Iliess Macani have confirmed deals elsewhere.
Aston will be keen to keep hold of the likes of developing youngsters Blake Broadbent and Paddy Burns, but he’ll also want a blend with experienced heads like Toole key to his plans going forward.
The centre, who has also starred successfully in the back-row this season, again underlined his importance to the Eagles in defeat at Barrow last Sunday, with Toole bagging two tries as Aston’s side were beaten late on by the Raiders.
The Eagles have one last opportunity to arrest their recent slide which has seen Aston’s side slip to four straight defeats, as Aston hopes to have answer from Toole before the showdown with Rochdale.
“He won't want to finish his season like it is at the moment,” Aston added.
“He has got a bit more about him. It will be interesting to see what he comes back with over the few days or so.”