Swinton Lions v Sheffield Eagles
Sunday 8th April 2018, 16:30pm
Championship - Round: 10
Stats over last 8 encounters
Next up on The Eagle Eye are the Swinton Lions, coached by former Ireland international three-quarter Stuart Littler.
The Heywood Road club came into the new season after retaining their Championship status in 2017, but it wasn't just on the field where they had to show fight.
The club’s financial predicament was dire, rugby league supporters rallied together to raise money as the Lions fought to stay alive.
Swinton’s coach, John Duffy, departed to join Featherstone Rovers ahead of the West Yorkshire club’s Qualifiers campaign.
This left assistant coach Littler at the reins and he managed to lead the Lions to safety and another season in the second tier.
Unfortunately for Swinton, they have only picked up one point so far in 2018 and come into this weekend’s tie with Sheffield as the basement club of the Championship.
That could change with victory over the Eagles, who have also struggled to get going – picking up just one win from eight games.
Previous five results against Swinton
Swinton Lions 30-32 Sheffield Eagles at Heywood Road – 13th August 2017
Sheffield Eagles 42-34 Swinton Lions at the Beaumont Legal Stadium – 2nd July 2017
Sheffield Eagles 30-24 Swinton Lions at Bloomfield Road – 28th May 2017
Swinton Lions 24-28 Sheffield Eagles at Heywood Road – 26th March 2017
Sheffield Eagles 38-40 Swinton Lions at SHU Sports Park – 21st August 2016
Upcoming fixtures against Swinton
Swinton Lions v Sheffield Eagles at Heywood Road – Sunday 8th April 2018
Sheffield Eagles v Swinton Lions at the Olympic Legacy Park – Sunday 10th June 2018
Losing key figures Shaun Robinson, Ilias Bergal and Oliver Davies to fellow Championship clubs Featherstone Rovers, Leigh Centurions and Sheffield Eagles was a blow for the Lions in the off-season.
However, they completed some shrewd business of their own with the most intriguing in the shape of hooker/loose forward Hayden Hansen from Redcliffe Dolphins of the Intrust Super Cup in Australia.
Ex-Eagles George Tyson, and more recently Will Hope, both signed on the dotted line for Swinton while Littler swooped for four players from League 1.
Marcus Webb and Danny Ansell – the latter now departed – from Hunslet, Chris Worrall from Gloucestershire All Golds and Jesse Sheriffe from Keighley Cougars all joined.
Kyle Shelford and Gabriel Fell were recruited from Wigan Warriors while Elliot Caine and Conor Taylor also came from Super League clubs Wakefield and Warrington respectively. Macauley Davies, Liam Forsyth, Liam Paisley, James Worthington and Oliver Partington have also featured for Swinton this season, on dual-registration from Wigan.
In the lead-up to this Sunday's match, Littler bolstered his side's forward pack with the loan signing of Levy Nzoungou as well as the extension of Gavin Bennion's temporary stay - both from top tier club Salford Red Devils.
Kyle Shelford – Wigan Warriors
Jesse Sheriffe – Keighley Cougars
Marcus Webb – Hunslet
Danny Ansell – Hunslet
Chris Worrall – Gloucestershire All Golds
Hayden Hansen – Redcliffe Dolphins
Gabriel Fell – Wigan Warriors
Elliot Caine – Wakefield Trinity
Conor Taylor – Warrington Wolves
George Tyson – Oldham
Will Hope – Free Agent
Levy Nzoungou - Salford Red Devils
Gavin Bennion - Salford Red Devils
George Tyson – Signed alongside fellow Roughyed Adam Neal for the Eagles’ 2016 season, Tyson proved to be a powerful customer with ball in hand and caused problems for opposition defences. He only stayed for one season with Sheffield but his partnership with winger Ben Blackmore showed glimpses of potential.
Will Hope – A consistent figure in the back-row, Hope enjoyed two stints with the Eagles in 2014 and 2017. The Ireland international left Sheffield ahead of the 2018 season but came back into the sport with Swinton last month.
By Dan Fowler