Big kick-off -- Chisholm

AUSSIE stand-off Dane Chisholm will be the star attraction in Mark Aston’s new-look Sheffield Eagles side.

Once of Melbourne Storm and Canterbury Bulldogs, 26-year-old Chisholm flew home to Australia as a free agent when his latest club, Bradford Bulls, went into liquidation.

Despite their own financial anxieties, Sheffield pursued him and once a deal was agreed he couldn’t get on a flight to the UK quickly enough.

Said Aston: “He’s put the Bradford thing behind him and he’s fully committed to the Eagles.”

Eagles were in such a state of flux a few weeks ago that many feared they would also hit the buffers.

It was a direct result of that critical situation that Oldham signed Nathan Chappell, Adam Neal, David Hewitt and George Tyson.

They’ve also lost a few others, but under the direction of new chairman Chris Noble MBE they’re fighting back, the swoop for Chisholm making a statement of intent.

A few of last year’s squad are still there, among them new captain Matty James and his two vice-captains Duane Straugher and Scott Wheeldon, as well as PNG trio Menzie Yere, Garry Lo and Mark Mexico.

They’ve also made NINE new signings, including second-row forward Will Hope from Oldham and hooker Lewis Foster, who had several games for Roughyeds on loan from Leigh last season and is now on dual-registration in South Yorkshire.

Said Hope: “I have good mates at Oldham, so there’s sure to be a lot of banter flying around.

“I’m excited, but at the same time it will be a very strange feeling. It’s going to be tight, with little in it either way.

“There have been lots of close-season ups and downs at Sheffield, but everything is solid now and I think we’re going to have a great season.”

Assistant coach Ged Corcoran, who played for Oldham in the new club’s early days, said: “We expect a physical challenge, but we’ve set out our stall to win.

“Scott (Naylor) likes it physical around the ruck, but we’ll do what we do best — and win.”

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