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Swinton Lions v Sheffield Eagles Preview

A big game for both sides at Heywood Road on Sunday as Swinton Lions play host to Sheffield Eagles. The Lions, who sit eighth in the Kingstone Press Championship at the moment, are two points above Sheffield but have a worse points differential so a defeat would see the steel city club leapfrog them.

                                                                 Last Time Out 

Swinton Lions were heavily beaten by London Broncos in round 17 at Heywood Road. John Duffy’s men suffered a 42-16 loss to the full-timers and the hosts were 24-4 down at the break after Shaun Robinson scored the only try of the half for Swinton. Daniel Harrison, Nick Slyney, Mark Offerdahl and Api Pewhairangi were the try-scorers for the Broncos. After the interval, Macauley Hallett cut into the deficit with the half’s first score but London soon got back on track thanks to tries from Slyney, Ben Hellewell and Pewhairangi. The final try of the contest went the way of Swinton, and Rob Lever.

Sheffield Eagles were on the receiving end of a 24-10 scoreline against Batley Bulldogs at SHU Sports Park last Friday. Quentin Laulu-Togagae opened the scoring for Sheffield before Keegan Hirst and Greg Minikin both responded with a try each for the visitors. Pat Walker was successful with his two conversion attempts and he even added a penalty goal during the half. George Tyson scored the first try of the second period to make it a one score game after 47 minutes but the Bulldogs defence stayed resolute and they benefited down the other end of the pitch. Wayne Reittie and Joe Chandler were the try-scorers for Batley in the second half as the West Yorkshire side sealed a good win against tricky opposition.

                                                                    Key Battle 

The battle of the forwards should be an interesting one this weekend as both clubs attempt to get the upper hand in the middle of the park. Mike Morrison and Jordan Hand were the starting front-rowers for Swinton against London while Steve Thorpe and Adam Neal went up against the menacing Bulldogs props in Sheffield’s match. Reinforcements were available on both benches. Swinton’s were in the shape of Andy Bracek and back-rowers Rob Lever and Kyle Shelford. Bracek will more than likely start for the Lions this weekend after news was released a few days ago that Swinton captain Morrison had retired from the game with immediate effect after a string of head injuries. The Eagles had a rather heavy handed bench against the Bulldogs with prop forwards Mark Mexico and Scott Wheeldon as well as utility players Matty Fozard and George Tyson.

                                                                    Prediction

This match could be important in the long-run for both teams as they strive to retain their Championship statuses. Swinton have a head start on the Eagles as they’re above them in the table but that will all change if the visitors get the victory on Sunday. Sheffield put in an improved performance against Batley but they will need to keep getting better if they’re to register more points on the table – Sheffield by 8

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