Rochdale Hornets v Sheffield Eagles
Friday 14th April 2017, 15:00pm
Championship - Round: 10
Stats over last 8 encounters
Sheffield Eagles travel to the Crown Oil Arena on Friday as they take on Rochdale Hornets, who have been impressive in their first season back in the Championship.
Alan Kilshaw’s men currently sit seventh, one place above Sheffield, and they had a great chance to improve on their points tally last weekend but ended up letting a large lead slip against Batley Bulldogs.
Meanwhile, Sheffield were beaten by Bradford Bulls in a game where the South Yorkshire club were indecisive in attack with forward passes and knock-ons constantly halting them.
Last Time Out
Rochdale Hornets suffered a 38-36 loss against Batley Bulldogs at the Fox’s Biscuits Stadium despite being 36-12 up in the final quarter.
The Hornets had two men sin-binned during the game and conceded 18 points while they were off the field.
Late on in the game, Batley notched three tries in the space of as many minutes to turn the game around completely to the delight of the home crowd.
The Hornets were 22-12 up at the break after tries from Rob Massam, Harvey Livett, Benjamin Jullien and Lewis Galbraith.
Macauley Hallett scored a double for the hosts and Sam Smeaton also got on the scoresheet but Dominic Brambani couldn’t add the extras to any of the three scores.
Hallett’s second try came while Jono Smith was in the sin-bin for a high tackle. In the second half, Matty Hadden extended Rochdale’s advantage with his side’s fifth try of the game before Batley’s James Brown was sin-binned for a high shot.
Livett kicked a penalty goal to make it 30-12 to the Hornets prior to Jack Johnson and Smeaton exchanging tries for both sides.
In the final 20 minutes of the contest, Batley scored four tries to steal the victory. Will Maher started the comeback by crossing the whitewash on 62 minutes and when Hadden was sin-binned for a professional foul in the latter stages of the game, Batley were smelling blood.
Shaun Ainscough registered a quick-fire double to cut the deficit to just four points and the hopeful Batley fans didn’t have to wait long to see the winner.
On the next set, Tom Lillycrop powered down the Mount Pleasant slope to touch down next to the sticks. Brambani’s third conversion of the match proved decisive, to the heartbreak of the Hornets.
Sheffield Eagles had a bad day at the office as they were defeated 48-16 by a James Bentley inspired Bradford Bulls.
Second-rower Bentley scored four tries, one more than the Eagles team, to help the Bulls move closer to a positive points total in the Championship.
Ethan Ryan and Bentley both scored inside the opening ten minutes to get the hosts off to a flying start. The Eagles didn’t collapse after the early pressure, though, and they got on the scoresheet through Will Hope.
When Menzie Yere was sin-binned for a dangerous tackle on Johnny Campbell, Bradford seized the initiative. Ross Oakes and Bentley touched down in quick succession to give Leigh Beattie’s men a 24-6 half-time lead.
After the restart, Daniel Murray muscled his way over the line to extend Bradford’s advantage and that ultimately put the game beyond doubt although the Eagles responded well.
Ben Blackmore scored twice without reply but there was still three scores between the teams and the Bulls never looked like relinquishing their strong position.
Bentley added two more tries to his tally before the final hooter sounded and Campbell also got in on the act as he raced away after the hosts made another break.
Benjamin Jullien was called upon by Rochdale last weekend, as part of the dual-registration deal in place with Warrington Wolves. The centre, who can also play in the back-row, scored a try against Batley but was unable to help the Hornets keep hold of their lead.
In the other centre slot, Lewis Galbraith also crossed the whitewash so despite the defeat both players, if selected, are in decent attacking form.
Jake Spedding and Menzie Yere were the centres for Sheffield in their last match and neither got on the scoresheet.
Spedding has played a part in the Eagles’ recent upturn in form, striking up a decent partnership with Ben Blackmore who scored twice against Bradford.
Everybody knows about Yere’s quality as he’s been the thorn in many defences side for a good number of years now. His power from short range speaks for itself and every side will have a plan in how to deal with the PNG international.