SHEFFIELD Eagles have decided to put their faith in the exuberance of youth for the 2021 season.

Head coach Mark Aston has brought in 10 new recruits during the off-season - the oldest of whom is 26 years old.

It is clear that there is plenty of potential among the new crop of talent at the Eagles.

Ex-Castleford Tiger Jordan Bull has represented England Students, three-quarter Ryan Johnson arrives from Hull FC and Travis Corion spent several years in the Huddersfield Giants academy set-up.

None of those have played first-team matches before and time will tell how quickly they can get up to speed at Betfred Championship or (in this week’s case) Challenge Cup level.

Sheffield get their season underway tonight in the first round of the Betfred Challenge Cup against York City Knights when the two square up at Doncaster’s Keepmoat Stadium (7.45pm). 

Arguably the Eagles’ best signing ahead of the clash is highly-rated outside back Jack Render. Having scored prolifically for Castleford Tigers Academy and impressed as a regular for Featherstone Rovers in 2019, his addition is a major coup.

The signings of prop forwards Tyler Dickinson (ex-Huddersfield) and Bobby Tyson-Wilson (ex-Hull FC) will bring experience to the group though, despite being just 24 and 26 years old, respectively.

The addition of the latter unites him with brother Harry Tyson-Wilson, another new recruit. Both are formerly of the Knights.

Bobby played 11 times for York, scoring one try, in the 2017 season while half-back Harry made 18 appearances during two spells, having initially been loaned in from Hull FC. He scored seven tries and 44 goals.

Another ex-Knight is talismanic scrum-half Anthony Thackeray who, at 35, is one of the most experienced and classy playmakers in the division.

The new recruits take Sheffield’s number of players up to 30, a useful size this year should coronavirus or other injuries force a significant reshuffle to the pack.

The Sheffield squad is full of experience and quality, having seen few departures from the side that finished on the cusp of a Championship play-off place in 2019.

Defeats at Bradford Bulls and Swinton Lions in the final two rounds of that year’s competition saw Aston’s side fall away on the final stretch.

It must be said that those results did come in the immediate aftermath of Sheffield’s Sundecks AB Sundecks 1895 Cup victory at Wembley Stadium - becoming the first club to win the trophy.

Aston led his side to victories over Halifax, Doncaster, Batley and then Widnes in the final - over 20 years on from his star performance on the field when Sheffield beat Wigan in the famous 1998 Challenge Cup final.

The Eagles will be hoping to retain that piece of silverware this year and will have the opportunity to reach the semi-finals if they get past York and then either London Broncos or Keighley in the next round of the Challenge Cup.

Sheffield Eagles squad: Guzdek, Worrincy, Glover, Millar, Thackeray, Davey, James, Knowles, J Farrell, Brown, G Burns, Davies, Ward, Dickinson, Broadbent, P Burns, I Farrell, H Tyson-Wilson, Johnson, Render, Adlard.