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The Qualifiers Round 7 preview – Sheffield Eagles vs Wakefield Wildcats

Sheffield Eagles take on Million Pound Game participants Wakefield Trinity Wildcats at Bramall Lane. Sheffield contested very well in their last matchup but couldn’t quite get on the right side of the scoreline against Hull Kingston Rovers. Wakefield beat Halifax at the Rapid Solicitors Stadium, which will more than likely host the Million Pound Game if the Wildcats win on Sunday.


Last Time Out


Sheffield Eagles came close to a Super League scalp but were denied by a Ken Sio-inspired Hull Kingston Rovers. Sio notched three tries on the evening for the visitors but young Eagles winger Ryan Millar also achieved that feat by going on a late scoring burst to complete his hat-trick. First blood went to Sheffield through Eddie Battye on six minutes but Sio replied 15 minutes later with an unconverted try. From the restart, the Eagles had a player put in the sin-bin as a challenge from John Davies on Matty Marsh was deemed worthy of a yellow card. But despite having a numerical disadvantage, Sheffield applied themselves well and didn’t concede a point while Davies was off the field. Maurice Blair and Sio both got on the scoresheet before the half was out, Hull KR had a ten point lead at the break. The first try needed to go to the hosts if they had any chance of winning the tie, Quentin Laulu-Togagae scythed through to touch down. This gave Mark Aston’s side a little bit of hope but Sio scored his third try of proceedings on 47 minutes to knock the Eagles down a peg or two. Millar responded well for the Eagles with a four-pointer a few minutes after Sio’s third, but three Rovers tries in succession gave them an unassailable lead. Adam Walker, Kris Welham and Marsh all found their way over the Sheffield whitewash, but a couple of late Eagles tries left the Championship side in good spirits after the match had ended. Millar bagged his second and third scores in the space of four minutes, ten points was all that separated the two sides as the final hooter sounded.


Wakefield Trinity Wildcats met Halifax for the second time this year at the Rapid Solicitors Stadium. Their last encounter came in the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup but this tie held more importance for the Wildcats, who are battling it out for Super League survival. Despite dropping three of their key players, Kevin Locke, Tim Smith and Reece Lyne, for the match, Brian Smith’s Wakefield side won 30-12. The hosts were 18-6 up at half-time after two tries from Michael Sio and one from Mickael Simon. Halifax’s only score of the first 40 minutes came from Jake Eccleston. In a replica of the first half, three tries were scored in the second period. Wakefield scored two of those through Anthony Mullally and Max Jowitt, Halifax’s four-pointer came courtesy of chief playmaker Scott Murrell.


Key Battle


It’s fair to say Ryan Millar has had a great start to life in the first team at Sheffield. In his first two senior games for the Eagles, the winger has scored five tries. Both of those games were against full-time clubs too. Whether he carries on his form which got him the Qualifiers Opta Player of the Week for round six remains to be seen, but you’re only going to get 100% from the Birmingham Bulldogs product. Rob Worrincy was on the other wing for Sheffield last Friday, the former Halifax winger may well go up against Jordan Tansey on Sunday if Wakefield’s team from last week stays the same. Tom Johnstone didn’t get on the scoresheet against Halifax in the last round but it’s all about experience for the winger, and he will definitely learn his trade well under Brian Smith.




In the last two weeks, Sheffield have played out of their skin against Super League sides but a few lapses in concentration, mainly in defence, has been their downfall. Wakefield know their fate lies in the Million Pound Game so it’ll be interesting to see whether star back-rower Danny Kirmond makes a return this week in preparation for the clash with Bradford. The Wildcats should have too much but when it comes to Sheffield Eagles, anything can happen! – Wakefield by 14


I study Sports Journalism at the University of Sunderland. Write about the Kingstone Press Championship for a few websites, as well as doing match reports and previews for Sheffield Eagles.

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