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Hall Of Fame

2009 was when Sheffield Eagles had reached their 25th anniversary and it was agreed that this was a good time to celebrate their varied history. So the best way was to instigate a Hall Of Fame to recognise the achievements of certain individuals who played a massive part in making Sheffield Eagles the club they are.

The Hall of Fame gives us time to celebrate and raise a glass to the people who have helped make Sheffield Eagles to become a special rugby league club over the last 25 years.  It is thanks to the efforts of many people on and off the field that the dream has survived. Now is the time to honour some of those people with the launch of an Eagles Hall of Fame. Five people were chosen as the first to enter the Hall of Fame - all have played a major role in not just creating the club but keeping it alive in difficult times. They have earned the right to be honoured.

 

GARY AND KATH HETHERINGTON

A great partnership that created the club. Gary had the idea to create a totally new professional rugby league club in Sheffield but he couldn’t have made that dream a reality without the backing of his wife Kath. A couple with young children they risked all to establish Sheffield Eagles. Most people must have thought they were mad - if you were going to establish a business, and make your fortune, launching a rugby league club seemed a strange choice of venture. They were the ideal couple to do just that - Gary had enjoyed a long career in the game and Kath was from a great rugby league family. Together they worked to make Sheffield Eagles work and it is right that together they should join the club’s Hall of Fame.

DARYL POWELL

The first player to be signed for the club, the first to win Great Britain honours. Daryl was a remarkable player who very soon could have moved on to a bigger club but stayed at the Eagles. As captain he took the club to its first promotion, suffered the agony of relegation but helped the club back into the First Division. He was one of the most gifted and committed players of his generation.

PAUL BROADBENT

“Beanz” was the big man who led from the front. With Sheffield Eagles Paul became one of the most respected front role forwards in the game. Respected for his honest approach on and off the field. As captain of the team he led by example - doing the hard graft. That hard work was rewarded when he lifted the Challenge Cup at Wembley in 1998 - the high point of the last 25 years.

MARK ASTON

Tubby is the club’s record points scorer and winner of the Lance Todd Trophy as man of the match in the Wembley Challenge Cup final triumph of 1998. As a player be would be worthy of a place in the Hall of Fame but his contribution to the club is far greater. Mark was one of the key people in saving  the club after the merger trauma and has become the public face of ruby league in the city. He has established the new club and is working to ensure a strong future.

RICHARD PEPPER

He has made unique contribution to the club over the past 25 years. He was a pupil at Castleford Grammar School with Gary Hetherington and offered his help when the club was in the development stage and when an accountant offered to help without a fee!  Richard has taken on many roles including a spell as a director. From the first whistle he has been the club’s official timekeeper and game statistics collector. It all adds up to a great contribution to the club.

BRENDON LINDSAY

Brendon signed from Queensland Cup side Ipswich Jets. The Aussie Stand-Off had NRL experience with Gold Coast Chargers and it was said: “You won't have to worry about his attitude as he always gives 100% & is definitely best when taking the line on, he also had one of the best kicking games in the Queensland  Cup.” Brendon’s Eagle career epitomised this.  He played 137 matches for Eagles out of a  possible 143 games. He scored his 50th try in his penultimate game for the club thus joining the small band of players to have achieved that feat. Brendon’s qualities showed from the beginning, being awarded “Starman” in his debut against Hull KR. Brendon was selected to play for Scotland in 2009 and joined the illustrious 100 Club as Member 32 on 28th June 2009 and was named in The Co-operative Championship All Stars Team 2010.

GAVIN BROWN

Gavin  Brown was a young play maker, signed from Leeds Rhinos, who had been on loan to Bramley. Gavin , played 196 games out of a possible 290. He would have played far more often if he had not had his jaw broken in the first home game against Batley in January 2000 and missed 13 games.  Gavin later became  the club captain and his 196 games covered the period 28th December 1999 to his last appearance against Gateshead (@ Gateshead International Stadium) on 17th April 2009, on SKY, in the Co-operative Championship. Although he never scored a hat-trick his points scoring  made him the Eagles second highest points scorer with 835 from 149 games – a figure only exceeded by Mark Aston. Gavin’s debut was in the first match of the new era against Lancashire Lynx on 28th December 1999 where he played at scrum half, scoring a try, 3 goals and a drop goal. 22nd June 2003 saw him score  his 500th point for Sheffield Eagles. 24th August 2003 saw him join the 100 Club. In 2005  he became the longest serving member of the reformed Eagles and well-known in the city’s schools through his work bringing rugby league to pupils. He did a fantastic job out in the community as development manager. In 2007  - “Gavin Brown is the Eagles General. He has a good organisational, passing and kicking game.” His record of 196 games, 35 tries, 383 goals and 21 drop goals {927 points} is remarkable and second only to Mark Aston.

WAISALE SOVATABUA 

Was first signed for Sheffield on 10th October 1995 and  only made 5 appearances in his first season.. He played  in the Grand Final win against Swinton in 2006. He was one of the 17 to play in the first ever Super League Match against Paris St Germain in 1996.

Sovatabua was part of the Eagles' squad, which beat Wigan to win the Challenge Cup in 1998. From 1996 to 99 he played in 89 games for the Eagles scoring 97 points (24 tries and a drop goal).  In his second stint Was made 24 appearances and scored 11 tries. He has also represented Fiji at Rugby Union before changing codes and then getting signed by by Gary Hetherington after the World Cup of 1995. He then played for Fiji again in the 2000 World Cup scoring 3 tries. In 1995/96 season Was made his debut with the Alliance team and made 31 appearances scoring 22 tries. Was never scored a 1st team hat-trick but scored at least 2 tries in each season played. Finally Mark Aston said of him in 2005: Comeback star Waisale Sovatabua had a big impact the moment he started training back with the Eagles squad. He brought a blast of confidence to a squad reeling from a run a league defeats - just whatTubby had hoped for. First team appearances amounted to 113 with 35 tries and a drop goal.  2006  he  “retired” and became a well respected member of the coaching team.

MICK COOK

Signed for Sheffield Eagles on 18th July 1987. In fact, it was that fitness that helped him get into the pro game in the first place, at the ripe old age of 25. he signed for Leeds amateur club Queens, and a year later, in the 1986-87 season, he was snapped up by semi-professional club Sheffield Eagles. In the decade that followed, he became something of a legend at the Don Valley, winning various Player of the Year awards, including those voted for by his fellow players. He was part of the team winning the Division Two Premiership with Sheffield at Old Trafford, He played against Australia when they were over for the World Cup.  During his playing career he made 259 first team appearances scoring 22 tries, and he made 9 appearances for the Alliance team, scoring one try. Mick was another of the team playing in Paris in the first ever Super League game. Mick re-joined Sheffield Eagles as assistant to Mark Aston in 2008 and stayed until the end of the 2011 season.

KEITH SENIOR

Keith began his professional career at the Sheffield Eagles. He was signed from Huddersfield YMCA rugby union club by Gary Hetherington in 1994. He signed officially, (according to records), from the Eagles Academy on 1st September 1994. Keith made his debut with a mop of  blondish hair  in the Stones Bitter Championship, playing at #12 . He also played in the very first Super League match on 29th March 1996, a against Paris St Germain where he scored the first of his many[199] Super League tries.  He also  made his Great Britain debut this season, scoring a try after coming off the bench in the 72-4 win over Fiji. His  first “home” Super League try was scored at DVS in the emphatic win over the Bradford Bulls (40-24).Although he only scored 6 tries in the first two seasons,he became the top try scorer with 17 in 1996. 1998, he was on the try scoring trail again, when he scored 19 tries as Eagles shocked the rugby league world, beating the Wigan Warriors 17-8 in the Challenge Final at the old Wembley Stadium. He also made his first start for Great Britain in 1998, against New Zealand, and played in all 3 tests. He eventually made 140 appearances for the Eagles and scored 56 tries during his five seasons at the club.  He made a total of 92 Super League appearances with the Eagles scoring 40 tries. Keith's international career began when he was selected for the 1996 Oceania Tour and played against PNG, Fiji and New Zealand. Keith only scored one hat trick in his Eagles 1st team career and played his last game on the 4th September 1999 and scored a try.15th February saw him score his 50th try for the club. He also played 30 times for the Alliance scoring 13 tries.  He joined the 100 Club on 3rd  July 1998 against Castleford at DVS.

MARK GAMSON

“Gamma” was Sheffield Eagles 2nd signing in 1984 and in 1996, according to reports he was “playing the best rugby of his career” in his final season in 1996. He was an integral part of the team and the club and played in all the finest moments, if ever anyone fulfilled their potential it was Mark. Several times he found himself in competition with players of perhaps greater ability but always risen to the challenge and kept himself in the side. One match in particular summed up Mark’s contribution.  The Eagles had a must win game against Bradford Northern at Odsal, when the team were battling relegation from the top division in 1990.  Mark suffered a broken thumb the week before which have ruled out any other player, but, defying doctors orders, he made himself a makeshift cast from a piece of carpet, strapped it on, played, scored a crucial try and helped the Eagles to a famous win, which was to help keep them up! He missed very few matches through injury because he was as tough as they come. Gamson showed his fighting qualities when Aussie legend Garry Jack arrived at the club and immediately took over the fullback role. Many thought this would relegate Gamson to the fringes but not a bit of it he quickly established himself on the wing. Jack enjoyed some great games and when he departed "Gamma" was back at No. 1. His service to Eagles saw him make a then club record 76 consecutive appearances between 1989 and 1991. Gamma only missed 53 games in 12 seasons, for the first team, but he also turned out for the Alliance almost 50 times between 1990 and 1996 and scored 82 points. He was a determined, strong competitor who earned the respect of the fans, even though at times he did try the patience of referees. Gamma was awarded his testimonial in 1995-1996 and eventually played 350 times, scoring 270 points.

The 2nd inductee for 2013 has “grown up” with the reformed Eagles. From playing in a Sheffield  inter-varsity match when Mark Aston saw his potential, to becoming one of the most respected Championship forwards and Scottish International, this player has won accolades with the club but never on the National scene.

JACK HOWIESON

Jack signed for the Eagles in April 2001 from local side Hillsborough Hawks and made his debut at Don Valley against Doncaster in the same month. He was not known for his prolific try scoring but he was to become a solid and committed front row forward and eventually made the number 8 shirt his own. Promoted to Club Captain in 2003 he was a well respected member of the team and club. Jack is a big powerful runner who hits hard in the tackle and is difficult to put down. He was a Member of Scotland’s  European Nations Cup team and Scottish International.  A natural leader, both on and off the field. It was said on his retirement in April 2013,” his leadership qualities have been second to none, bringing us back into games where we were struggling to impose ourselves.” Jack played 275 first team games, scoring 15 tries and was awarded a testimonial year in 2010 and scored his one and only goal in his testimonial match against Hull FC. A 13 year association with the Eagles and taking the club to winning the League 2 Grand Final in 2006, runners up in The Championship Grand Final of 2011 and winners in 2012, has made Jack a much respected member of Sheffield Eagles.