Match Report – Halifax RL 42-16 Sheffield Eagles

Sheffield failed to follow up an impressive victory over Toulouse last weekend as they fell to a heavy 42-16 defeat against Halifax at The Shay.

Halifax opened an eighteen-point lead thanks to tries from Adam O’Brien, Scott Murrell and Ben Johnston. The Eagles did close the gap before half-time when Scott Wheeldon, who spent ten minutes in the sin-bin, powered over.

However, Halifax maintained control after the break with James Saltonstall crossing for a second-half hat-trick alongside tries from Luke Ambler and Steve Tyrer. Sheffield did score twice in the closing stages through Ben Blackmore and Duane Straugheir.

Wheeldon was sent to the sin-bin in the first half following a trip while dual-registration player Dayne Weston spent ten minutes on the sideline in the second half after giving away back-to-back penalties.

Halifax opened the scoring inside the opening five minutes as Adam O’Brien, who signed on a one-month loan from Huddersfield in midweek, burrowed his way over from close-range. Steve Tyrer converted.

The Eagles came close on a couple of occasions but Scott Wheeldon was soon sent to the bin for tripping following a quick Halifax tap restart.

The hosts immediately took advantage and extended their lead just before the twenty-minute mark when Scott Murrell’s short-ball put Jacob Fairbank through. The loose-forward returned the ball to Murrell who went in under the posts. Tyrer converted.

Minutes later Halifax were in again as O’Brien jumped from hooker before Ben Johnston crossed unchallenged. Tyrer converted.

However, in the closing stages of the first-half Wheeldon made amends for his sin-bin by crashing over to get the Eagles back into the game before the interval. Brown converted.

Unfortunately for the Eagles they started the second-half slowly and James Saltonstall took advantage of some quick hands out wide after just three minutes. Luke Ambler powered his way over just a few moments later. Tyrer converted Ambler’s try but failed to add the extras from Saltonstall’s.

Halifax’s dominance continued as Saltonstall crossed for a second following a move to the blind-side from a scrum. Tyrer converted. With twenty minutes remaining Halifax wrapped the game up when Tyrer bundled his way over out wide.

Sheffield didn’t lie down however as Dane Chisholm created an overlap which allowed Ben Blackmore to finish well in the corner. Chisholm was again the creator as his short-ball put Duane Straugheir over with five minutes left.

But the last laugh went to the hosts as Saltonstall took advantage of a loose pass from the Eagles to score his hat-trick in the final minute of the game sealing a 42-16 victory for the hosts.

The Eagles host Batley Bulldogs at the Beaumont Legal Stadium on Sunday 26th February while Halifax travel to Rochdale Hornets.

Halifax: Sharp; Saltonstall, Tyrer, Woodburn-Hall, Worrincy; Murrell, Johnston; Boyle, O’Brien, Cahalane; Barber, Grix, Fairbank.

Interchanges: Morris, Wilkinson, Ambler, Lannon.

Eagles: Chisholm; Lo, Yere, Whiteley, Blackmore; Brown, Minchella; Wheeldon, Fozard, Weston; James, Hope, Burr.

Interchanges: Straugheir, Trout, Scott, Harper.

Referee: Chris Kendall. Touch Judges: H. Neville & J. Jones. Attendance: 1241.


Sheffield Eagles 32-28 Dewsbury Rams – Match Report

The Eagles managed to fightback from a twenty-point deficit to win their first game in three weeks as they overcame the Dewsbury Rams 32-28.

Menzie Yere scored with the last play of the game as he broke down the left flank before cutting inside to round off the comeback.

This came on the back of four unanswered tries from the Eagles with Keal Carlile and Quentin-Laula Togagae crossing as well as Championship top try-scorer Rob Worrincy grabbing a double.

Nathan Conroy had scored early on in the second half to give the Rams a twenty-point lead after Luka Adamson, Dalton Grant, Etu Uaisele and Aaron Brown had all scored in the first half for the visitors. Mark Mexico scored just before the interval adding to Menzie Yere’s first.

Dewsbury crossed twice in the opening stages with Luke Adamson powering his way over from a few yards out after the Rams had kept the ball alive. The Eagles looked for an immediate response but QLT’s pass was intercepted by Dalton Grant who then raced the length of the field to extend the visitors early lead.

The Eagles did get on the board a few moments later though and this time QLT’s pass was perfect for Menzie Yere who caught the ball and burrowed his way over out wide.

James Glover had only converted one of the Rams two tries so when the opportunity to kick for goal arose Shane Grady added an extra two for the visitors.

Etu Uaisele was next to cross for Dewsbury as he took the ball from first receiver from a scrum and found a gap out wide before capitalising. This was soon followed by Aaron Brown’s effort as he hit the ball at pace on the angle and forced his way over from close range.

Mark Aston’s side did grab a try just before the break however as interchange Mark Mexico broke through the middle of the Dewsbury defence and made it to the line.

In similar fashion to the first half however the visitors crossed first when Paul Sykes sent Brown through a gap before Brown found Nathan Conroy in support who finished the move off.

With the Eagles now twenty points behind QLT initiated the comeback as he used his footwork to create an opening and dive over. Sheffield maintained their pressure as Michael Knowles and Menzie Yere linked up before finding Rob Worrincy who sped to the line out wide.

Hooker Keal Carlile was next to score for the Eagles as he managed to force his way under the Rams defence from behind the play-the-ball. Worrincy doubled his account for the evening when Cory Aston found him with an inch-perfect cross-field kick which the winger took and finished well under pressure.

With the last play of the game Yere collected the ball thirty yards out before racing down the flank stepping inside and diving over next to the sticks to give the Eagles their first win in three weeks.

Eagles: QLT, Worrincy, Yere, Tyson, Blackmore; Hewitt, Aston; Thorpe, Carlile, Stringer, Knowles, James, Minchella.

Interchanges: Fozard, Mexico, Neal, Wheeldon.

Dewsbury: Guzdek, Morton, Crookes, Uaisele, Grant; Glover, Kain; Adamson, Conroy, Hepworth, Hale, Grady, Farrell.

Interchanges: Brown, Teanby, Sykes, Trout.

Referee: J. Roberts. Touch Judges: T. Crashley & T. Hudson. Attendance: 441

Wakefield Wildcats 44-10 Sheffield Eagles – Match Report

The Eagles couldn’t progress to round six of the Challenge Cup following a 44-10 defeat at the hands of Super League club Wakefield Trinity Wildcats at Belle Vue.

Liam Finn and Tirinau Arona both grabbed doubles for the Wildcats whilst Tom Johnstone, Ben Jones-Bishop, Mika Simon and Mikey Sio also scored for the home side. Finn kicked six from eight conversions.

Menzie Yere scored both of the Eagles tries on the back of kicks. His first came from his own grubber through before he took advantage of Cory Aston’s kick later in the half.

Mitch Stringer returned to captain the Eagles after a few weeks out of the side and Dave Hewitt also returned in place of Rhys Jacks. However Duane Straugheir did leave the field for a concussion check in the second-half and didn’t return. Chris Chester made five changes to his Wakefield side including Captain Danny Kirkmond who missed out.

The Eagles actually got on the scoresheet first. A bad ball from Aston was about to hit the ground however Yere reacted poking the ball forward with a kick and managing to follow up and plant the ball down. Aston converted.

Wakefield levelled the score ten minutes later as Jacob Miller broke before finding Finn in support who crossed despite the best efforts of the chasing Eagles defenders. Finn converted.

The Wildcats took the lead soon after and again Miller was the creator as his looping ball found winger Johnstone who scored in the corner. Johnstone’s pace came in hand for Wakefield’s next try as he broke from the halfway line before throwing the ball inside to Craig Hall who then fired the ball to Finn to stroll over for his second.

Sheffield were creating opportunities and capitalized when QLT’s grubber kick was missed by Jones-Bishop before Yere got his hands to the ball to grab his second of the game and pull the Eagles back within four points.

But Wakefield would run in three tries in sequence before the interval to give them a comfortable lead at half-time. First quick hands out wide eventually found Jones-Bishop who dived over in the corner. This was followed by forward duo Arona and Simon both powering over from close-range in the final five minutes of the half.

The pace slowed down significantly in the second half with the Eagles defence keeping the Wildcats at bay for the most part. Sio did manage to evade a defenders before scoring ten minutes into the second half which Finn followed up with the conversion.

Injuries became a problem for both sides and Eagles Straugheir was taken from the field for a concussion check and didn’t return. As the game drew to a close Arona barged his way over his second of the game and Finn converted with the last kick of the game.

The result means the Eagles are out of the 2016 Challenge Cup and will return to Championship action against the London Broncos on Friday in their first home game in six.

Wildcats: Hall, Jones-Bishop, Gibson, Arundel, Johnstone; Miller, Finn; England, Howarth, Arona, Tupou, Ashurst, Sio.

Interchanges: Simon, Annakin, Yates, Walton.

Eagles: QLT, Worrincy, Yere, Tyson, Millar; Aston, Hewitt; Thorpe, Carlile, Stringer, James, Straugheir, Knowles.

Interchanges: Fozard, Minchella, Neal, Mexico.

Referee: B. Thaler. Touch Judges: S. Kilpatrick & P. Parker. Attendance: 2257

Oldham Roughyeds 21-20 Sheffield Eagles – Match Report

Lewis Palfrey’s drop-goal was the difference as Sheffield Eagles fell 21-20 to the Oldham Roughyeds at Bower Fold.

Palfrey’s late one-pointer came just a few minutes after Matt James had levelled the scores at 20-20 however Cory Aston missed the conversion which would have given the Eagles the lead.

Oldham scored two quick tries in the early stages of the second half with both Michael Ward and Kenny Hughes crossing. A try from Matty Fozard followed to keep the Eagles in touching distance.

Sheffield actually led at half-time after Fozard and Menzie Yere both benefited from low grubber kicks. Liam Johnson’s long-range effort put the Roughyed’s on the board before the interval.

Rob Worrincy returned to the Eagles side following Garry Lo’s injury last week against Bradford whilst Michael Knowles came back into the side starting on the bench.

The Eagles took just over five minutes to open the scoring when Rhys Jacks’ low kick was collected by Fozard who spun and planted the ball down. Aston followed up with the conversion.

Both defences were working hard keeping chances to a minimum but the Eagles did manage to extend their lead. Another dangerous grubber kick, this time from Aston, was chased down by Yere who managed to ground the ball before it went dead. Aston converted.

Oldham didn’t go into the break scoreless however as Johnson reacted quickest to Aston’s low kick taking it on the full before racing eighty metres to score under the posts just before half-time. Palfrey converted.

The Roughyeds took control in the early stages of the second half crossing twice in the space for three minutes. Ward managed to force his way over for Oldham following a Richard Lepori break from deep inside his own half. Palfrey converted from in front of the sticks.

Just moments later back-to-back penalties took Oldham to the Eagles line again and this time Hughes jumped from hooker and burrowed his way under the Sheffield defenders to put the home side ahead. Palfrey converted.

Fozard notched his second try of the game when he threw a dummy and went over from a few yards out after Lepori had fumbled Jacks’ high bomb. However Aston skewed his kick wide meaning the Eagles trailed by two.

Sheffield continued to push forward as Keal Carlile was held-up over the line but another penalty for Oldham would allow Palfrey to kick for goal and extend the home sides lead to four points. The Eagles followed this by keeping the ball alive and earning a repeat set which allowed James to crash over to level the game. However, Aston again sliced his conversion.

Mark Mexico would then knock-on from the kick-off which gave Oldham and Palfrey position to kick a drop-goal to sneak back in front. Sheffield had one last attack and they opted to kick wide for the victory instead of putting over a drop-goal of their own. The kick was collected by Jamal Chisholm who was tackled in the air and the Eagles came away with nothing.

Eagles: QLT, Worrincy, Yere, Tyson, Millar; Aston, Jacks; Thorpe, Carlile, Neal, James, Straugheir, Fozard.

Interchanges: Minchella, Blagbrough, Knowles, Mexico.

Oldham: Lepori, Clay, Gee, Johnson, Chisholm; Palfrey, Roper; Joy, Owen, Dickinson, Thompson, Middlehurst, Hope.

Interchanges: Burke, Ward, Hughes, Spencer.

Referee: Jonathan Roberts. Attendance: 724

Bradford Bulls 28 – 46 Sheffield Eagles – Match Report

Mark Aston’s side ended their run of four successive league defeats with an emphatic 28-46 victory over Bradford at Odsal.

Three tries in succession during the second half were pivotal for the Eagles as they opened up a twenty-two-point lead with Mark Mexico, Duane Straugheir scoring before Ryan Millar finished off a brilliant team try. George Tyson also scored late on.

Garry Lo managed to grab a length of the field effort in the opening stages of the second half. Millar’s first and Elliot Minchella’s try gave the Eagles the lead at half-time after Cory Aston started the first half fightback with his interception.

Bradford had taken the lead with two early tries from Danny Addy and Lee Gaskell. Omari Caro got the Bulls back into the game in the second half but by the time James Clare and Kris Welham crossed their tries were nothing more than consolation.

Aston had swapped the side around after a poor Easter period which involved defeats to both Featherstone and Dewsbury. Experienced players Rob Worrincy, Mitch Stringer and Michael Knowles all dropped from the side whilst Dave Hewitt missed out due to injury. Garry Lo, Rhys Jacks and Jack Blagbrough all returned for the Eagles.

James Lowes also made changes to his Bradford side who had only won on of their last six games. Adrian Purtell returned to scrum-half as well as Kris Welham returning to centre and Oscar Thomas replacing Richie Mathers. Etu Uaisele and Jean-Philippe Bail dropped from the side along with Matty Blythe who remained injured.

The Bulls started on top and an early forty-twenty from Lee Gaskell gave the home side an opportunity to open the scoring which they did as Addy crashed over from close range.

Gaskell was central to the Bulls’ second as he slotted through a grubber kick which he collected himself and slid in under the posts.

However just as it looked Bradford may start to extend their lead Adrian Purtell’s pass inside his own half was intercepted by Aston who raced to the line from 20 metres out to get the Eagles on the scoreboard.

Sheffield managed to continue to turn the momentum of the game in their favour and interchange Mark Mexico got a hand free before offloading to Minchella who finished. Aston’s conversion drew the visitors level.

But the Eagles weren’t done as they piled more pressure on the Bradford line and eventually earned the lead on the hooter. An accurate looping pass from QLT found young winger Millar who pulled out an amazing one-handed finish under pressure from three defenders in the corner. Aston again converted from touchline to give the Eagles a six-point lead at the break.

The Eagles carried on just as they’d left off in the first half when Lo scored a brilliant solo effort. Gaskell’s cross-field kick was collected by Lo on his own line before the Papua New Guinean ran the length of the field and finished despite Caro’s best efforts. Aston missed the conversion but followed up with a successful penalty goal a few minutes later.

However Gaskell’s next cross-field kick proved profitable for Bradford as Caro climbed above Millar to close the Eagles lead. But Sheffield didn’t let this or kicking the ball out on the full from kick-off affect them as they followed up to score three tries in unanswered tries.

Mexico was first to cross as he threw a dummy and strolled over from yards out on the back of Aston’s one-on-one rip from Oscar Thomas. QLT would follow this with a break from deep before finding Millar who was brought down. However a quick play-the-ball allowed Rhys Jacks to find Straugheir out wide who went in untouched.

The game was sealed for the Eagles when Tyson threw the ball out wide to Menzie Yere deep in his own half however Yere powered around Clare and fended him off before finding an onrushing Millar. The youngster sprinted the final 60m to finish off an unbelievable Sheffield try under the posts.

Late on Bradford managed to cross out wide through Clare however Sheffield quickly cancelled it out when Tyson powered his way over in the corner. Welham would finish the scoring off for Bradford but it was nothing but a consolation for the home side.

Sheffield face a trip to Oldham next week who managed to pull of an upset against Batley whilst Bradford travel to Dewsbury to face the side who knocked them out of this seasons Challenge Cup.

Bradford: Thomas, Caro, Clare, Welham, Campbell; Gaskell, Purtell; Clough, O’Brien, Crossley, Haggerty, Ferguson, Addy.

Interchanges: Olbison, Pitts, Fleming, Clark.

Sheffield: QLT, Lo, Yere, Tyson, Millar; Aston, Jacks; Thorpe, Carlile, Neal, James, Straugheir, Fozard.

Interchanges: Blagbrough, Mexico, Wheeldon, Minchella.

Referee: B. Thaler Attendance: 4234

Featherstone Rovers 28-16 Sheffield Eagles – Match Report

Sheffield suffered a third straight Championship defeat as they fell to a 28-16 against a Featherstone side who are still unbeaten at home.

Tries from Kyle Briggs and Jamie Cording late on secured the win for Featherstone after Briggs’ two penalty goals had edged them in front.

Rob Worrincy and Quentin Laula Togagae had given Sheffield the lead after Misi Taulapapa opened the scoring for Featherstone.

Cording’s first try followed one of from Andy Ellis which put the Rovers in front heading into half time but Keal Carlile snuck over in the final minutes which meant the sides went into the break level at 16-16.

Mark Aston had made changes to the Eagles side with Duane Straugheir started the game at centre in replace of an absent George Tyson, Scott Wheeldon started in the second-row and Mark Mexico was left out.

As for Featherstone they had four former-Eagles in their side – John Davies, Scott Turner, Kyle Briggs and Misi Taulapapa.

Featherstone capitalised on the first opportunity that fell their way as QLT dropped the ball from a Danny Craven kick. From the resulting play former-Eagle Taulapapa managed to fend off incoming challenges and forced his way over from close range.

The game was soon levelled when QLT turned provider for his own team as he found Worrincy who squeezed under the Rovers defence and scored in the corner. QLT was the man who finished the Eagles next try. Blackmore evaded two tackles to break from the halfway line before finding the Samoan full-back who raced in under the sticks.

Sheffield’s was soon cut short in an end-to-end half of Rugby. Ellis picked up the ball at Hooker before spinning and burrowing his way underneath the defence. Briggs missed the conversion however he slotted over a penalty around ten minutes later.

Blackmore was sin-binned for the second consecutive game after he had an altercation Taulapapa off the ball and the home side made the man advantage pay instantly. Second-rower Cording managed to hand off two Eagles defenders close to the line before crashing over. Briggs converted.

However, even with twelve men, the Eagles managed to score before half time when Carlile jumped from hooker and dived over the line. Knowles’ conversion ensured the teams were level at the interval.

As the second half progressed the game became more defence orientated with no side wanting to slip up. The Eagles turned away two opportunities to kick for goal and push themselves in front.

But the home side didn’t turn down the chance to develop a slender lead as Briggs slotted over a penalty with just over ten minutes remaining. Moments later he converted another penalty goal to extend the lead to four.

Featherstone grabbed control in the closing minutes crossing for two late tries. Briggs, who had given the Rovers the lead, furthered it when he stepped near the line and dived over before Cording finished off a Taulapapa break down the left hand flank. Briggs missed both conversions but it was still enough to consign the Eagles to defeat.

Featherstone: Hardman, Johnson, Tagg, Taulapapa, Turner; Briggs, Craven; Griffin, Ellis, Bostock, Cording, Davies, Spears.

Interchanges: Ormondroyd, Achurch, Baldwinson, Roche.

Sheffield: QLT, Worrincy, Yere, Straugheir, Blackmore; Aston, Hewitt; Thorpe, Carlile, Neal, Knowles, Wheeldon, Fozard.

Interchanges: Jacks, James, Minchella, Stringer.

Referee: M. Woodhead Touch Judges: J. Pullein & D. Bowmer.

Sheffield Eagles 32-28 Swinton Lions

The Sheffield Eagles progressed to the 5th round of the Challenge Cup even though they trailed for large periods against Swinton.

Cory Aston scored a late eight-point try as he was fouled in the act of scoring, Dave Hewitt’s two successful conversions which followed proved to be the difference. Swinton had raced into a 0-18 lead in as many minutes with tries from Stuart Littler, Macauley Hallett and Mike Morrison.

Straugheir pushing for the line


Tries from Duane Straugheir and Menzie Yere before the interval closed the gap. Ben Blackmore grabbed a second half brace before being sin-binned for fighting. Straugheir also scored a second before Aston’s late try pulled the Eagles level and gave them the chance to win the game.

The game was Mark Aston’s 500th in charge of the Sheffield Eagles and he gave appearances to Ryan Millar and Jack Blagbrough for the first time this season. Hewitt returned after missing the game with Whitehaven last weekend. Rhys Jacks and George Tyson missed out with Blackmore moving to centre.

John Duffy made several changes to his side as Liam Hyde came in at full-back with Chris Atkin moving to scrum-half in place of Matty Beharrell who missed out. Vila Halafihi and Liam Marshall dropped out whilst Greg Scott and Stephen Nash returned.

Sheffield continued their trend of starting games slowly and Swinton wasted no time punishing them. Quick hands out wide found Littler who fended off the Sheffield defenders and broke from thirty metres and raced to the line to open the scoring.

The visitors doubled their lead just minutes down the opposite flank this time. Centre Hallett was the scorer as he fought through incoming Eagles defenders and managed to plant the ball down in the corner. Morrison would follow this up to extend the Lions’ lead further QLT failed to knock the ball out of the in-goal area and the prop-forward pounced on the loose ball.

However Straugheir managed to power his way over from close range for Sheffield on the back of a repeat set to get the Eagles on the board. The hosts continued to close the gap when Yere collected the ball on the left hand side before powering over the top of Littler putting Sheffield within eight points of Swinton going into the break.

The sides exchanged tries in the early stages of a back and forth second half. Hallett was first to cross as he shrugged off two Eagles defenders near the line however it was soon cancelled out by opposition number Blackmore who took advantage of a looping pass from Aston.

QLT was the provider for the next Eagles try as his offload found Straugheir who crashed over for his second of the game again from close range. Swinton soon regained their six-point lead though as Hallett picked up QLT’s play-the-ball before anyone took the role of hooker this allowed the centre to go through for his hat-trick under the sticks. With twelve minutes remaining the Eagles got themselves back in touching distance when Blackmore scored his second out wide.

The comeback was complete with eight minutes left on the clock as a high bomb wasn’t fielded by Swinton, Hewitt reacted quickest before offloading to fellow half-back Aston who scored to tie the game. However the Eagles were awarded an eight-point try as Aston was fouled in the act of scoring which meant Hewitt had two kicks. He converted the original one before also slotting home an extra two from in front of the posts to give the home side a four-point lead.

In the closing minutes the game boiled over and Sheffield centre and try-scorer was sent to the bin for punching but the Eagles saw out the final moments with twelve men.

Sheffield Eagles: QLT, Millar, Yere, Blackmore, Worrincy; Hewitt, Aston; Thorpe, Carlile, Stringer, Knowles, Straugheir, Minchella.

Interchanges: Fozard, Mexico, Neal, Blagbrough.

Swinton Lions: Hyde, Robinson, Littler, Hallett, Scott; White, Atkin; Morrison, Nicholson, Hand, Dwyer, Lloyd, Thornley.

Interchanges: Lever, Austin, Barlow, Nash.

Referee: T. Grant. Touch Judges: J. Jones & M. Mannifield. Attendance: 410.