15th October 2018, 07:55
Eagles capture Hemel pair Esslemont and Sheriff
Sheffield Eagles can today announce the signings of Hemel Stags duo Louis Sheriff and Sonny Esslemont on one-year contracts.
Both players came through the ranks at Hull Kingston Rovers and are excited to join the Eagles after a spell in League 1 with the Stags.
Esslemont is 24-years-old and a six-time Scotland international who plays in the back-row.
After leaving Hull KR, Esslemont has played in League 1 for Newcastle, Keighley and Hemel.
Eagles Director of Rugby, Mark Aston, commented on the capture of Esslemont, saying: “He has come through the Super League system and is a big, rangy back-rower with a lot of ability,”
“Jack (Howieson) speaks very highly of him and thinks he will be good for us and we will be good for him.
“He has been in the wilderness, even went back to amateur because he loves the game, and now he has the appetite back he wants to progress.
“I love challenges like that, he is a good kid and he is going to be key as the season goes on.'
“He was going to be one of the big-hitters in Super League but he lost his way and that’s what happens to some of these kids.
“We want to put him back on that path because he has still got years in front of him to get there."
Esslemont added: "I am really looking forward to it, I'm chuffed to bits that Mark and Sheffield have given me the opportunity to test myself,"
"I have been playing down at Hemel and Jack, our coach who used to play for Sheffield, spoke highly of me and when Mark got in touch it was an opportunity I couldn't turn down.
"I can't wait to get started. There was already quality here and they are bringing lads in which means it will be competitive all the way through pre-season and hopefully I'll be able to put my best foot forward and try to push for a spot in the team."
Sheriff, similar to Esslemont, came through the Robins system before going to Australia and trying his hand for Redcliffe Dolphins.
A full-back by trade, 26-year-old Sheriff will add depth to the squad and he has told Aston that he will play anywhere for the cause.
The Eagles chief said: “I met up with Louis and we talked about his best position, which is full-back, and he said ‘Tubbs, I just want a pre-season and a friendly and I’ll show you the rest because I can play anywhere and I’m willing to do that,”
“I love that sort of mentality. He’s coming in, he’s got a point to prove and Jack says he is a great kid who wants to train hard.
“You can’t get enough of that so I’m delighted we’re giving him the opportunity to get him to the level he was at before.”
Sheriff commented: "I'm absolutely buzzing,"
"It's a big step-up from League 1 but it's something I've done before and something I've wanted to do again for a long time.
"I am buzzing Mark has given me the opportunity to test myself and to show what I can do.
"I believe I'm up to the standard of Championship so I'm just really grateful I have been given the chance."
Sheriff admitted it will be a challenge to claim a regular starting spot at the Eagles but the confident utility is certainly going to give everything for the cause.
"I love the high standard (of the Championship), the quality of rugby is better, the players are high calibre and there's some really experienced boys at Sheffield now too," he said.
"It will be tough but it's all down to me to get a place and keep the shirt."
Make sure to catch Louis and Sonny in action at the Olympic Legacy Park with a membership for the 2019 season.
Memberships are reduced at an early bird rate until Tuesday 20th November and can be made even more affordable with new direct debits, splitting payments over four monthly instalments.
Go to http://www.sheffieldeagles.com/tickets/2019_memberships for more information and to purchase yours today!
By Dan Fowler