York City Knights 18-25 Sheffield Eagles PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 10 May 2012 21:34

altThe Sheffield Eagles returned to winning ways in poor conditions in North Yorkshire, grinding out a 18-25 victory against the York City Knights on a boggy Huntington Stadium pitch.

The performance wasn't always vintage from the Eagles, with both sides making errors in a frustrating game of rugby league, but two tries from star full-back and man of the match Quentin Laulu-Togagae set the visitors on their way, and they needed to show all their character and determination in the second half to get themselves over the line.

It was York who started the brighter in front of the television cameras, forcing two repeat sets early on in the piece but failing to break down the Sheffield rearguard.

Quick thinking from Dom Brambani instigated the first try of the game, as he pounced upon a knock-on from Knights half-back Chris Thorman and raced to the halfway line on the first tackle.  Menzie Yere then made more vital yardage before Laulu-Togagae finished off by diving over to register the four points.  Simon Brown was on target with the conversion.

The Knights bit back almost immediately though through scrum-half Ben Johnson.  Thorman's kick was caught by Laulu-Togagae on his own try line, but as he tried to advance forwards Johnson stripped the ball in a one-on-one situation, which was verified by the video referee, and touched down unattended to get York on the scoreboard.  Thorman's boot levelled the scores.

The first penalty of the game didn't come until just a few minutes before the half-time hooter, but the Eagles capitalised on it to go into the break with a six point advantage.  Referee Gareth Hewer penalised the home side for a ball steal and Brown made valuable yards with the penalty, giving Sheffield good field position.  Laulu-Togagae again showed his talent with a show-and-go on the left to break the defensive line, then snubbed Menzie Yere in a two-on-one situation to step inside Jordan Tansey and take the glory himself.  Brown added the extra two points.

The Eagles full-back proved he can be as efficient in defence as he is in attack by preventing a certain try from Johnson with a last ditch tackle just after the restart, and it proved important as the visitors stretched their lead shortly afterwards.  A trademark banana kick from Brown was hacked on by Brambani to Vinny Finigan who took the ball on the full and raced over the try line to score for the third consecutive game since his return to the line-up.  Brown's conversion was successful.

This triggered a comeback from the Knights, with former Eagles centre James Ford playing an integral part in getting the hosts back on level terms.  Firstly, he intercepted a pass from Brambani and sprinted for 80 metres to score in the left hand corner, then he turned provider, supplying the final pass of a fine sweeping move from York to George Elliott who grounded the ball a little suspiciously, but was given the green light by the video referee.  Thorman kicked both conversions from the touchline and the sides were locked at 18 apiece.

Ford then had the chance to put his team in front after John Davies burst through the Sheffield defence and offloaded to the York number three, but he knocked the ball on with the try line at his mercy and was left wondering what might have been.

This wake-up call was sufficient enough for Mark Aston's men as they hit the front once more.  Brown put Sam Scott through a gap in the York defence to make the initial break and give the South Yorkshire outfit rare and precious second half field position.  Then it was all about Brambani who fended off three would-be tacklers before barging through another and crashing over under the posts, much to the delight of his team-mates and the travelling Eagles supporters.  Brown had the simple task of restoring the Eagles' six point lead.

Brown added a drop-goal to his four conversions with just four minutes remaining to make the points safe for the Eagles, but there was still time for a flash point as Misi Taulapapa and Jack Lee were sent to the sin-bin for fighting.  There were no more points scored though, meaning the game finished York City Knights 18-25 Sheffield Eagles.

Knights: Tansey, Bush, Ford, Garside, Elliott, Thorman, Johnson, Sullivan, Lee, Aldous, Davies, Houston, King.  Replacements: Turner, Sutton, Clarke, Hemmings.

Eagles: Laulu-Togagae, Finigan, Yere, Taulapapa, Morrison, Brown, Brambani, Howieson, Henderson, Stringer, Knowles, Green, Hirst.  Replacements: Scott, Higgins, Straugheir, Hepworth.

Attendance: 462

Last Updated on Friday, 11 May 2012 09:15