After beating Bradford in their own back yard earlier on in the season, Sheffield Eagles will be hoping that they can gain a repeat result when the Bulls travel to SHU Sports Park on Friday night. Sheffield enter the match after losing to Workington Town last weekend while Bradford, under the watchful eye of new coach Rohan Smith, got the better of Swinton Lions.
Last Time Out
Sheffield suffered a bitterly disappointing defeat to Workington at SHU Sports Park last Saturday. The division’s basement side won 37-30 thanks to a great performance from Carl Forber and a boisterous forward pack. The Eagles were 20-8 down at the break despite two early tries from Garry Lo which had got the hosts in front on separate occasions. Jarrad Stack, Perry Whiteley and Carl Forber all crossed the chalk for Town and the latter even added a penalty goal for good measure during the first 40 minutes. In the early stages of the second half, things got even worse for Sheffield when Whiteley added his second try of the game to extend his side’s lead. Forber didn’t convert the try but he made amends by kicking a penalty goal a short while later. Ben Blackmore and Scott Wheeldon both registered tries for the Eagles as hope of a comeback victory was still very much alive. Eight points separated the teams before Kris Coward touched down for a Workington try. Jarrod Sammut was then sent to the sin-bin for an altercation with Cory Aston but that hiccup didn’t make Town falter at all, it just made them even more motivated. Whiteley’s third score pretty much ended the game as a contest although Rob Worrincy did cut into the deficit with ten minutes to go. A drop-goal from Forber extended the visitors’ advantage to three scores so when Aston notched a converted try in the dying embers, it hardly meant anything.
Rohan Smith was present at the Provident Stadium to watch his new Bradford Bulls side defeat Swinton Lions 54-8. The Bulls held a 20-0 lead at half-time after two tries from James Clare as well as singles courtesy of Omari Caro and Adam Sidlow. Both teams had a man sin-binned during the opening 40 minutes. Danny Addy and Josh Barlow were both sent to the bin after a brawl had occurred. In the second period, four tries went the way of the Bulls inside 12 minutes as they completely swept the floor. Kris Welham, Oscar Thomas, Tom Olbison and Addy were the try-scorers for Bradford, who were 44-0 up after the quick bout of scoring. Swinton did strike with two tries of their own thanks to Liam Marshall and Rhodri Lloyd. In the final quarter, the Bulls added two more four pointers to their collection as Lee Gaskell and Caro both pounced over Swinton’s try line.
The half-backs of both sides have been changed up in the past few weeks as coach Mark Aston, and temporary Bradford boss Matt Diskin have both been looking for the right balance. Last Saturday saw Cory Aston and Rhys Jacks paired up together but they couldn’t guide the Eagles to a second consecutive victory. Aston and Jacks led Sheffield to a big win at the Provident Stadium earlier on this year but will they get another chance at conquering the Bulls again? Oscar Thomas and Lee Gaskell were selected in the halves for Bradford’s triumph over Swinton while Danny Addy started at loose forward. Thomas has played most of this year at full-back but now he may have found his more suitable position.
Sheffield have struggled throughout 2016 and if they don’t buck their ideas up soon they’ll face a nervy time in the Championship Shield as the teams below them will be wanting to secure safety themselves. A win over Bradford would be exactly what coach Aston required but, with it being Rohan Smith’s first game in charge of the Championship heavyweights, the Bulls players will be eager to impress – Bradford by 16