Scott Wheeldon to retire at end of season
Sheffield Eagles prop forward Scott Wheeldon has announced he will retire from Rugby League at the end of the season.
Wheeldon has enjoyed two separate stints at the Eagles, following a decade-long Super League career with four different clubs.
He played for Hull FC, Hull KR, London Broncos and Castleford Tigers before coming down to part-time rugby league in the Championship.
In-between his spells with Sheffield, Wheeldon had two seasons at Featherstone Rovers.
Commenting on his imminent retirement, Wheeldon said: “I’ve been thinking about it from the start of this season,”
“I knew before the season started that it’ll probably be my last year to be honest.
“Last year was a bit funny with COVID so that didn’t really help me, not getting much training and everything being shut.
“I knew going into the season it’d be tough to get into shape from the get-go.
“At 35-years-old, it’s tough to have a year out at my age while some of the younger lads got straight back into it.
“I feel like from personal performances this year, they haven’t been where they were in the past so it’s another incentive to call it a day.
“I’m not the sort of player to drag out another season to pick up some money.”
Wheeldon had played in the pinnacle of cup competitions - the Challenge Cup Final - back in 2014 with Castleford Tigers.
Despite defeat to Leeds Rhinos, Wheeldon looks back on that particular memory with fondness: “It was massive for me,”
“I was at Hull FC back in 2008 but I missed out on representing them in the final so that was always in the back of my mind.
“In those sorts of competitions, you never know if it’s going to come around again but we had a great year at Cas.
“It was unfortunate for us that we lost on the day. Leeds were one of the best teams in the country and winning the league each season.
“It was disappointing in that respect but it was good to be involved and get to play at Wembley."
After a 16-season career, the front-rower is looking forward to settling down as he comes away from the gruelling Rugby League engine room.
“I have been doing it for a long time and the body has taken a bit of a hammering over the years!” Wheeldon said.
“I’m not too bad in that respect but I feel everything has slowed down and you need to call it a day.
“I’m looking forward to a bit of time off. I’ll definitely miss the training and being around the lads.
“I know I’ll be alright missing the games as I know I can’t perform at that level anymore. Being around the lads, the coaches, will be the stuff I’ll miss the most.”
Eagles Head Coach Mark Aston: “We are deeply saddened to lose Scott, like we are Matty (James) and Rob (Worrincy),”
“Wheely is a champion bloke who during his two spells at the club has brought vast experience and knowledge to the squad and been a real asset to us up front but also helping mentor the younger players also.
"A character of the game who is known and well liked across the various clubs he's played at, he will be a loss no doubt but he has chosen to retire and we completely support his decision.
“We wish him all the best with whatever he does next and like every player, he will be welcome back to watch the Eagles in the future.”
By Dan Fowler, photo by Alex Coleman