Doncaster play host to Sheffield Eagles on Wednesday night, with both teams having contrasting starts to their respective 2015 Kingstone Press Championship campaigns. Sheffield, despite losing their first game of the season to Dewsbury, have gone five league games unbeaten while Doncaster have lost all of their six ties.
Last Time Out
Doncaster welcomed Batley Bulldogs to the Keepmoat Stadium, in hope of recording their first league win of the calendar year. Halfway through the round six clash, Paul Cooke’s Dons were well on track to beat the Bulldogs as they led 14-6. Tries from dual-registered second-rower Jansin Turgut and bustling prop forward Mitch Clark set Donny’ apart from Batley in the first half. Dave Scott extended the hosts’ lead with a penalty goal before the visiting Bulldogs replied with a try courtesy of the ever-dangerous James Brown. With the tie becoming more edgy by the minute, John Kear’s Batley side cruelly stole the win from Doncaster’s grasp with two tries in the final quarter of the match. Wayne Reittie and Cain Southernwood both crossed the whitewash for the West Yorkshire outfit, in what were the game winning plays.
In the second match of the customary double-headers at the Keepmoat, Sheffield played host to Hunslet. Misi Taulapapa took centre stage in the first half, scoring the first two tries of the match for the Eagles as well as receiving a red card for a dubious headbutt on Hawks hooker George Flanagan. The ‘headbutt’ meant that Hunslet won a penalty in easy goal kicking distance so Danny Ansell tagged on the two points in the dying embers of the first half. But, despite having 12 men for the rest of the match, the Eagles got the first score of the second half as Quentin Laulu-Togagae finished off a good move. Rob Mulhern replied for the Hawks before Michael Knowles touched down for Sheffield with opposition full-back Jimmy Watson lurking nearby. At 22-8 to the good, the Eagles were in a good position and the points looked set to stay in South Yorkshire. George Flanagan swept in from dummy half to give his side a chance in the match but nine minutes later, Sheffield stand-off Kyle Briggs scored the final four pointer of the tie who capitalised on some poor defence in the process.
The battle of the wingers should be a good one to watch under the lights this Wednesday night. Misi Taulapapa recorded a brace in the Eagles’ last match against Hunslet but also gained a red card for his troubles too. The usually potent Scott Turner didn’t get many touches of the ball last weekend but give him a chance against his opposite number and he usually takes it. For the Dons, Sam Doherty and the dual-registered Curtis Naughton both took the wing slots for their clash against Batley. Neither player got on the scoreboard but for what should be a good, expansive match against Sheffield, they may get more opportunities to show off their talent. With Naughton being a Hull FC player and only on dual-registration to Doncaster, they may be a chance that Stewart Sanderson comes back into the team to replace the young Super League back.
With Sheffield on a good run of form and Doncaster without a win, the Eagles will definitely go into this one as favourites. A temporary move up to 2nd will be the reward for Sheffield should they win, if Doncaster win then they’ll have their first win of the season on the board. Which way will it go? – Sheffield by 16