Revenge. Sheffield Eagles haven’t really had to search for much of it this season, but Tuesday night will be one of the times that they will. Glenn Morrison’s Dewsbury Rams inflicted a first round defeat on the Eagles at Tetley’s Stadium in early February. Both teams have done well in the Kingstone Press Championship this season, with Sheffield currently sitting in 3rd and Dewsbury in 5th. The Eagles have a chance to consolidate their healthy position in the top four, but Dewsbury will be gunning for a ‘double’ on the South Yorkshire club.
Last Time Out
Sheffield Eagles were hosting Doncaster at the Keepmoat Stadium. Pretty surreal, I know! However, the Eagles have settled into their temporary housing with ease, only losing to the table-topping Leigh Centurions during the first half of their home campaign. Mark Aston’s side continued their good form in round 12 as they overcame Doncaster by 30-12. It was the first ‘double’ of the season for Sheffield, but it wasn’t all one-way traffic. The visitors took the lead on two occasions during the 80 minutes but a dominant final quarter from the Eagles, and Kyle Briggs in particular, saw a rather comfy victory ensue. Jansin Turgut made the most of a Misi Taulapapa fumble to touch down for one of the easiest tries you’ll probably ever witness. Cory Aston replied on 38 minutes for Sheffield, the young scrum-half weaved his way over the line after spotting a gap in the Doncaster armoury. After the break, a high bomb from Curtis Naughton spiralled through the air and a bemused Taulapapa let the ball bounce into the wanting hands of winger Tom Hodson. The Eagles’ second reply came via Mitch Stringer who buried his way over the line after some good directing work from former Hull KR hooker Keal Carlile. A Briggs conversion levelled matters before the stand-off became try-scorer when he touched down after plucking an ambitious pass from Danny Nicklas out of the air. All of the meaningful attacks were coming through Briggs and it was his grubber that set up a try on a plate for loose forward John Davies. Michael Knowles scored the final four pointer of the night with a minute remaining, rounding off a good night for the Eagles.
Dewsbury Rams welcomed Super League’s Warrington Wolves to the Tetley’s Stadium for a Ladbrokes Challenge Cup sixth round tie. Tony Smith’s Wolves were 26-8 up at the break, and the scoring started in the 7th minute as Brad Dwyer touched down from dummy-half but the Rams replied with a penalty goal from Brad Delaney five minutes afterwards. A four-try flurry for Warrington set them apart from their Championship counterparts as Ryan Atkins, Ashton Sims, Ben Currie and Declan Patton all crossed the whitewash in quick succession to put their side 26-2 to the good. The ever-impressive Joel Farrell posted Dewsbury’s first try of proceedings just after the 30 minute mark had passed. A close range try off the back of a penalty, Dewsbury were on the try-scoring board and the rather young squad were doing themselves justice with a performance of high spirit and determination. After the restart, Kevin Penny helped himself to a brace during the first five minutes of the second half before Chris Bridge added a try to bring up 40 points for the Wolves. During the final 20 minutes, Warrington scored their two remaining tries courtesy of Richie Myler and Currie. Delaney kicked a penalty goal for Dewsbury which ended the match with a 52-10 scoreline in favour of Warrington. A valiant effort from a Rams side who had three debutants in their match day squad.
The back-row forwards of both sides have been in great form during the 2015 season. For Sheffield, the signings of John Davies and Jamie Langley have strengthened what was already a very respectable back-row which included Michael Knowles, Duane Straugheir and Pat Walker who offers a utility value at either half-back or loose forward. Ben Musolino, the off-season signing from Barrow Raiders, has also played a few matches in Eagles colours with his last appearance coming in round 10 against Halifax. The skill, industry and talent in the Eagles back-row can not be underestimated but the same is said in the same breath for Dewsbury’s options. The Adamson brothers, Luke and Toby, were snapped up by coach Glenn Morrison at different stages of the season but both have been revelations as they consistently perform to a high standard. A back-row division containing the Adamson duo plus Aaron Brown, Rob Spicer and Joel Farrell equals a very capable bunch of players at the West Yorkshire club’s disposal. The battle between the respective back-rowers will be an intriguing one to watch pan out. It’s sure to be a lively one!
The home campaign for Sheffield has been a good one up to now, they’ve only lost one game at the Keepmoat Stadium and that was against Leigh Centurions. Dewsbury will be wanting to stay in touch with the top four and a win in this match will be vital to those chances. With a massive opportunity of consolidating their solid spot in the top four, this should be a game where Sheffield’s best make an appearance – Sheffield by 16