The club was founded under the name “Junior Eagles” in 1989 as a first attempt to develop rugby league below professional level after the formation of the Sheffield Eagles in 1984. After three seasons without a base the club found a permanent home in the disused athletics stadium in Hillsborough Park. The Hillsborough Arena Sports Association was set up and began work on grant applications that was to reach fruition with a successful Sports Lottery grant in 1996.
After beginning with only junior teams, an Open Age team was created that began life in the Pennine League in 1993. After a difficult start the team got going and by 1998/9 they lost only one game in winning the League title under coaches and Eagles legends Mark Aston and Paul Broadbent. The club then entered the National Conference League (the most prestigious amateur competition in rugby league) but then in 2002 took the bold step of joining the newly created National League 3, switching from winter to summer rugby in the process. The club was a regular participant in the play-offs, but never reached the Grand Final. It also ran a second team in the summer, playing in the Rugby League Conference.
Another new development in 1994 saw the Sheffield’s Women’s RL team join the club, which by then had changed its name to Sheffield Hillsborough Eagles. In 1997 the Club changed its name to Sheffield Hillsborough Hawks to avoid confusion with the professional club in the media and with the public and in the following year its new facilities were opened at Hillsborough Sports Arena following a £750,000 Lottery grant and a total investment of a million pounds.
In May 2006 the club withdrew from National League 3 as many of the players who had formed the team were unavailable and it was felt that the remaining players would not be competitive at that level.
The club withdrew completely from summer rugby in 2007 after it announced that it would not be entering a team in the Rugby League Conference, enabling players to take a rest and focus on the winter Pennine League team.
On 3 March 2007, Hillsborough Hawks under-16s team broke the world record for “Most Tacklebags Tackled in an Hour,” with 18 players making over 3,600 tackles between them. As a result of this, the team raised enough money to go on a groundbreaking tour to Serbia in early April 2007.