Sheffield coach Mark Aston says the number of players walking away from the game is a sad state of affairs and is concerned about the player pool.
The Eagles have struggled to put a full squad together in time for the start of the new season, and were forced to draft in two loan players from Castleford last week, as well as relying heavily on their dual-registration partnership with St Helens.
But Aston says the diminishing player pool is a problem for the game as a whole.
He said: “It’s been tough putting a squad together. One day I’ll get away from it!
“We’ve had 16/17 players, we’ve had a few on trial. I wanted a squad of 20/22 this year.
“I want to make this dual-registration work because what’s the point in having it if not.
“There’s not enough quality players out there now. There’s a shortage of players.
“When players are 23 years old and walking away from the game because they’ve lost the love for it, players who I think have got the potential to play Super League, it’s a sad state of affairs.
“And that’s happening across the board.
“We lost mandatory scholarship and academy a few years ago, and more people walked away from the game.
“That happens at Super League too. People walk away and don’t go to Championship. People can play, but they’re not, which is frightening.
“There’s not as many players around now. You look now and think where am I going to get the next one from.
“Everyone’s got small squads. 25 man squads. They’re keeping them on, which is great for them, but there’s not enough coming through.
“I’ve lost two players this year who I believe potentially could go back to Super League having played in the Championship for a year, but they walked away, and that concerns me greatly. Where do you find players to replace them?”
Sheffield fought back from a 14-0 half time deficit to lead at Dewsbury in their Championship opener on Friday, before going down 20-18.
The Eagles are on the road again next weekend as they travel to Halifax.