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Goalkicker Simon Brown heading for York City Knights
SHEFFIELD Eagles’ goalkicking ace, Simon Brown, is almost certainly poised to join York City Knights for 2013.
The Press reported a week ago that the 23-year-old was in line to fill one of the half-back roles under incoming head coach Gary Thornton, and, although the Knights are still refusing to comment on the link, both Brown and Eagles boss Mark Aston have now claimed the player is bound for Huntington Stadium.
Aston says his top points-scorer this season will not be offered a new deal for next year, with York his likely destination.
“Simon has made his decision that it’s time to move on and he goes with all our blessings. I believe he’s going to York. We’re not planning to offer him a contract,” he said.
The Press understands a close affinity with York assistant-coach Mick Cook, formerly number two at Sheffield, has helped to persuade Brown to be part of the new-look Knights for 2013. It is believed he will pen a one-year contract.
The player, though, has said he wants to focus on Sheffield’s bid for Co-operative Championship glory this year before his move away from the South Yorkshire club. The Eagles, grand finalists last year, currently lie fifth in the table, three points off second place and safely in the play-offs.
He said: “I’m expecting to join them (York) next year but obviously I want to do my best for Sheffield because we’ve still got a chance to win something and I want to be a part of that.
“I want to concentrate on this season, there’s a big final run-in and I’m close to all the players and coaches at the Eagles and it’s been a tough decision.
“I think it’s time for a change. I’m looking forward to going to York but my main focus for now is trying to get back into the Eagles team.”
Brown has played 24 times for Sheffield this season, two as substitute, but was replaced by utility man Dane McDonald for their last game, a draw with leaders Featherstone, and could well be left out again when they go to Dewsbury on Sunday.
He has scored one try, 90 goals and a drop goal this season for a total of 185 points. Last year, he bagged 235 points, from two tries, 113 goals and a drop goal, in 28 starts.
The former Leeds academy player had joined Sheffield from neighbours Doncaster on deadline day in 2010, making eight appearances for the Eagles that year, scoring one try, 15 goals and two drop goals. In total he has scored 456 points for Aston’s men in 60 appearances.
He had bagged 84 points in 16 starts for the Dons.
The Knights’ current player-boss, Chris Thorman, is the only recognised half-back presently on the Huntington Stadium books and his departure to Huddersfield Giants’ coaching team at the end of this season – Sunday’s wooden spoon clash with Hunslet will be the last game of his distinguised playing career – will leave York with an even bigger hole to fill.
Getting half-backs in place early for 2013 is therefore one of their priorities.
Rugby Football League rules state clubs cannot contact players contracted elsewhere before September 1, unless they have prior permission from the player’s current club.