THERE were audible gasps when Hull Pirates announced they had signed former Sheffield Steelers forward Jason Hewitt – and for a number of reasons.
Firstly, Hewitt had announced his retirement from the game after more than 10 years of success in South Yorkshire and, secondly, because Hull had endured a torrid first season when stepping in as a last-minute replacement in the English Premier League after being born out of the ashes of the extinguished Hull Stingrays.
But so far, the coming together of both player and club seems to be working out just fine, according to player-coach Dominic Osman.
“A guy like Jason has a ton of experience, he’s come from such a big, winning organisation in the shape of the Steelers,” said Osman ahead of preparing his team for a trip to Swindon Wildcats on Saturday before returning home to host Guildford Flames 24 hours later.
“The Steelers are one of the top organisations in the country and any time you can bring a guy in like Jason who has had such a great career with them and a guy who most people believe can still play at that level – it is always going to help you.
“But it is the entire group of guys that we have this year, it’s him and the other older guys that we have brought in - our leadership is spread throughout the team which is great.
“Jason’s had a very good start for us and he was trying to get used to the league too – compared to where he played before – but that seems to have come to him pretty quickly.”
Sheffield Steeldogs will look to build on their maximum return from last weekend when they host Telford Tigers before hitting the road to take on ninth-placed Bracknell Bees.
Coach Greg Wood was delighted with his team’s efforts last weekend, bouncing back well with wins over Manchester PHoenix and Peterborough Phantoms after drawing a blank the previous week.
“The boys dug in deep last weekend,” said Wood. “We knew they’d both be tough games, so I was pleased with the results.
“Everyone is here to win and they know what they have to do to make sure that we are winners.”