Sheffield Eagles' Wembley heroes return to Steel City
Now, 25 years on, the class of 1998 are returning to the city for a celebration dinner.
Amongst the team in 1998 include three of the Eagles’ current coaching staff - alongside Aston is centre Keith Senior and prop forward Paul Broadbent, the latter being the captain of the cup-winning side.
Aston has been a mainstay with the Eagles since building the club back up from its merger with Huddersfield in 2000, just two years after reaching the pinnacle of the sport.
“We have had a rollercoaster journey, there is no doubt about that,” he said.
“In 1998, we were on top of the world. We had just caused the biggest upset the sport had ever seen but it wasn’t the biggest upset in our minds.
“John Kear, our coach, had motivated us to the point where we felt we were going into the final as favourites, not major underdogs.
“We had a game-plan, we nailed the game-plan and now we get the chance to re-live it with our supporters who have been through the mill over the last few years.”
For Senior, his memories stem back to the work of Kear and his coaching staff before being able to take it all in as the minutes tick down to kickoff.
He said: “I just remember coming up against the mighty Wigan, the biggest odds-on favourite ever to lose the final, and how everyone had written us off,”
“But for me the atmosphere - walking out of the tunnel and the warm-up - is probably the best memory of that and all big games for me.
“You can take in the atmosphere and really appreciate everything around you.”
As if there could be any further layers to add to an already remarkable story, captain Broadbent had the joy of watching his son - Blake - lift the 1895 Cup for the Eagles at Wembley in 2019.
Affectionally known as ‘Beans’, the bustling prop forward provided a monster performance in the front-row against Wigan and he has recently joined the Sheffield coaching staff for their 2023 campaign.
The Eagles will host their dinner at OEC Sheffield on May 2, exactly 25 years to the day of that first Wembley victory. The doors will open from 7pm.
Tickets are now available from the Eagles’ ticketing website - https://eagles.mysportstickets.co.uk/events/event/_1177 - for £35, which includes a three course meal.