Aston plays down salary cap changes at Sheffield

Sheffield Eagles coach Mark Aston has stated that the RFL’s Championship salary cap changes for 2016 will have no effect on his club at all.

The RFL confirmed in November that clubs would be able to spend 50 per cent of ‘relevant income’ on salaries from 2016 onwards.

Sheffield already had their own budgets in place for this year, though, according to Aston.

“It won’t impact on us, that’s for certain, because we only spend what we’ve got,” he told Love Rugby League.

“Have we talked about it as directors? Yes. But it doesn’t impact on us.

“It’s quite simple, they say: ‘That’s the money you’ve got, Tubbs, that’s what you can spend. Now get on with it.’

“It helps certain clubs, but that’s up to them. It’s the sustainable business that we’re aiming for, and developing players.

“As you can see from the recruitment we’ve done that we’ve brought in quite a number of young, youthful players.

“That’s who we enjoy coaching, that’s where, if we get it right, we will benefit in two to three years.

“It’s longer term with us, and always has been.”

One significant change for the Eagles in 2016 has been the move to being a full-time club, as they build for a long-term future in Super League.

Aston has enjoyed the change.

“In pre-season the transition from part-time to full-time has been great,” he said.

“Moving from five hours a week to 20-odd hours a week is a bit different, and I love it.

“We’re in early in the morning, we get away about 1pm, some of us have still got jobs and go back out to work in the afternoon.

“Some of them are doing a bit of work in the community, some are resting up, and that’s what happens with full-time players.

“We’re certainly enjoying it. The boys have really responded. The younger players are starting to mature.

“Some of the players we’ve brought in, like Scott Wheeldon, they add to us.

“We’ve got a nice group, and we got a real bond straight away.”

As part of the transition to full-time, the Eagles conducted a major squad overhaul, with a large number of established players leaving.

Aston has enjoyed the challenge of building a new squad for 2016.

“People talked about when we lost 10 or 12 players, how were we going to replace them?” he said.

“How will we replace Dom Brambani and Patch Walker, all those other players we’ve had for a long time.

“Well, we know what we’re doing as coaches, and we’ve done it well.

“Why would we challenge what we’ve always done? Which is to get a group of players all playing for each other, and enjoying each other’s company.

“We’ve already done that before, and that’s not a challenge for us, it’s quite easy.

“So the new players that have come in are looking good.”

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