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Sheffield Eagles v Dewsbury Rams

Friday 31st August 2018, 19:45pm

Super 8s - Round: 3

Stats over last 8 encounters

Points

216
219

Wins

3
5

Loses

5
3

Tries

40
37

Sheffield Eagles welcome Dewsbury Rams to the Olympic Legacy Park tomorrow as Mark Aston’s side aim for back-to-back wins in the Championship Shield.

The Eagles came through a tough challenge against Swinton Lions with a 26-18 victory at Heywood Road two weeks ago.

Meanwhile, Dewsbury surrendered a 10-point half-time lead against their Heavy Woollen neighbours Batley Bulldogs, eventually losing 42-22.

Sheffield will be without Corey Makelim for the rest of the season after the dynamic USA international dislocated his shoulder against the Lions.

Blake Broadbent could be in line for an appearance after Eagles boss Mark Aston hinted the forward will receive extra game time towards the backend of the Shield campaign.

Last Time Out

Sheffield fought back from 14-4 down to beat Swinton Lions and all but secure their Championship status for another season.

Simon Brown was the star of the show for the visitors, scoring a brace and kicking three goals.

It was Swinton who broke the deadlock as Joe Brown leaped high to collect and touch down after 13 minutes. Rob Fairclough converted.

Menzie Yere responded with a try soon after but half-back Brown was unable to tag on the two.

Fairclough added eight points without reply thanks to a converted try and a penalty goal. The playmaker capitalised on an Oscar Thomas knock-on to score before adding the conversion.

The final act of the first period saw Fairclough kick a penalty after Thomas was sin-binned for a professional foul.

Despite the numerical advantage, the Eagles started the second half with purpose and they had something to show for it.

Brown registered his first try of the game with a short-range effort after spotting a gap in the Lions defence. He goaled to cut the gap to four points.

Brown was the tormentor-in-chief once again as he completed his brace with the final quarter on the horizon. Despite levelling the scores, he couldn’t convert.

Swinton regained a slender advantage thanks to Mike Butt’s effort in the right corner. Fairclough was off target.

Sheffield took the lead for the first time, with 13 minutes remaining, when James Bentley collected a Brown kick to scramble over. The latter converted.

The win was sealed minutes later as Jon Magrin crashed over to cap off a fine individual performance. Brown goaled.

Dewsbury were beaten 42-22 by Batley in the last Heavy Woollen derby of the season.

Batley went 10-0 up in the early going thanks to tries from Adam Gledhill and Keenan Tomlinson but Dewsbury soon fought back with Lucas Walshaw and Toby Richardson both crossing.

Paul Sykes converted on both occasions.

Dave Scott levelled matters before James Glover regained the Rams’ lead.

Daniel Igbinedion was sin-binned after kicking out at Joel Farrell but that didn’t deter the visitors, who extended their lead with a Dom Speakman try.

Sykes converted for a 12-22 lead at the break.

Batley blew their local rivals away in the second half courtesy of five consecutive tries.

Wayne Reittie and James Harrison both registered converted scores to give Batley the lead before Matt Diskin’s men wrapped up the game in the final quarter.

Dane Manning, Reittie and Brad Day all crossed to ensure the spoils stayed at the Fox’s Biscuits Stadium.

Key Battle

Simon Brown had arguably his game of the season against the Lions a fortnight ago and he will be hoping to replicate that performance when Dewsbury come to town tomorrow night.

Game management is a massive attribute for a half-back and Brown has that down to a tee.

However, he isn’t known for scoring tries but that did change at Heywood Road as the playmaker bagged two – helping the Eagles to a comeback win.

Alongside him in the halves was Cory Aston, who had a quiet game by his standards although he did come up with a massive play in the final few minutes.

Aston’s ball steal deep inside the Lions half set the platform for Jon Magrin to go over and seal the win for Sheffield.

The partnership of Aston and Brown is almost certain to stay after the injury to Makelim, who has covered in the halves during the year.

The Eagles’ half-backs will go up against Paul Sykes and Gareth Moore, the latter having come back from injury recently.

Sykes’ last visit to the OLP was a sour one as he missed a last-minute conversion to level the game, handing Sheffield the win.

Moore has performed well against the Eagles in the past and has the ability to turn a game on its head in the blink of an eye.

Sheffield will be wary of the danger both Moore and Sykes pose and if the Eagles can keep the pair quiet, their evening may prove less stressful than the last time the two teams met

Coaches Comments

Following the defeat against Batley, Rams coach Neil Kelly said: “I am not worried about Swinton, I am just focused on our position whether that be 7th, 8th or 9th,”

“I am not really concerned what has happened at Swinton, Rochdale or Barrow. I just want us to get as many points as possible to finish as high as possible in the league table.”

Mark Aston commented on the change to Friday night home matches for the next two weeks, telling the Sheffield Star: “We want to see how playing on a Friday will work for us,”

“We believe that it will help us with the corporate side, we think it will be a better on a Friday night.

“We also feel it will work for our supporters, so we'll see how well it goes down. It is something we have look at doing and we are looking to use the opportunity.

“To have four home games is great.

“We need to finish the season by putting smiles on the faces of the fans.

“We haven't been great at home this year, we know that.

“We have taken a bit of time to adapt to life here at the OLP, but certainly now is the time to make sure that we get the results in the bag, bring in some extra revenue and kick on.”

By Dan Fowler