Sheffield Eagles were on the receiving end of a deserved 28-16 loss against Featherstone Rovers at the Big Fellas Stadium on Friday night. In a match where penalties and handling errors were all the rage, the Eagles failed to capitalise on decent field position due to nervy play and a lack of communication. The half-time score read 16-16 after Eagles notched tries courtesy of Rob Worrincy, Quentin Laulu-Togagae and Keal Carlile while the Rovers try-scorers were Misi Taulapapa, Andy Ellis and Jamie Cording. The second half was littered with bad play before Featherstone perked up in the final quarter to win the game. A Kyle Briggs penalty goal put the Rovers out in front before the ex-Eagle danced his way over the try line with five minutes to go. Then, on the final play of the game, Cording supported a Taulapapa run and the forward wrapped it up
The first set of the match for Featherstone ended in an Eagles knock-on, as a simple punt forward was dropped by Laulu-Togagae. The hosts benefited to the sound of four points as Taulapapa forced his way over the line. Briggs couldn’t add the conversion. Sheffield, to their credit, responded very quickly with a Rob Worrincy try. Michael Knowles didn’t convert but five minutes later, the go-ahead try was scored as a Ben Blackmore run was followed by Laulu-Togagae and the full-back glided over the line for an easy four points. Knowles converted for a 10-4 lead. By the 15th minute, the fourth try of the game had been scored courtesy of Featherstone hooker Ellis burrowing over from dummy-half. The conversion wasn’t on target but that didn’t deter the hosts, who did level the game on 25 minutes thanks to a Briggs penalty goal. Straight after the restart, Misi Taulapapa and Ben Blackmore had a little altercation which ended in the latter heading for the sin-bin and the former staying on the field. Rovers made use of their numerical advantage by spreading the ball wide to Cording, who did the rest. Briggs extended his side’s lead to six points with the conversion. However, despite going behind and having one less man on the field, Sheffield did equalise before the interval. Keal Carlile powered his way over the whitewash from dummy-half and Knowles slotted over the easiest of conversions.
It took until the 66th minute for the first points of the second half to be scored. Sheffield had a lot of field position, and chances to kick for goal, but on every occasion they ran the ball and it ended up being their downfall as Briggs notched two points during the final quarter. The discipline of the steel city side also played its part but, from the moment of the Briggs penalty goal, Rovers took charge for the most part and they sealed the win with two late tries. Briggs and Cording both made their way over Sheffield’s try line to jubilant scenes both on and off the field. Sheffield have to pick themselves up from the defeat as they head to Dewsbury on Monday for, what is now, a must-win tie.
Prediction – Featherstone by 10
Result – Featherstone by 12
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