Sheffield Eagles v Featherstone Rovers
Friday 7th September 2018, 19:45pm
Super 8s - Round: 4
Stats over last 8 encounters
Sheffield Eagles take on Featherstone Rovers this evening, with Mark Aston’s side raring to bounce back after defeat to Dewsbury Rams last week.
The Eagles’ first Friday Night Lights match didn’t go as planned for the South Yorkshire side while Featherstone Rovers beat Leigh Centurions despite only fielding 14 men in their match day squad.
Featherstone will be hoping for a full complement of players for their visit to the Olympic Legacy Park, where they triumphed earlier this year 40-6.
Last Time Out
The Eagles suffered a 30-20 defeat to Dewsbury on home turf last Friday. Sheffield were 10-6 up at the break thanks to tries from Joshua Toole and lliess Macani but the hosts were unable to hold on as Dewsbury seized the initiative in the second period.
Adam Ryder opened the scoring for Dewsbury on 24 minutes before Toole and Macani hit back with a try apiece to put Sheffield in front at the interval.
After the restart, Brad Delaney crossed the first of his two tries on the evening. Daniel Igbinedion followed up Delaney’s effort with a four-pointer of his own to extend the Rams’ advantage.
With little over ten minutes to go, Oscar Thomas sparked life into the Eagles’ comeback charge as he perfectly timed his run on to a Simon Brown grubber. The former converted.
However, Sheffield’s fight fell short as Robbie Ward and Delaney both touched down before Macani added a consolation with his second try of the evening.
Featherstone went to the top of the Championship Shield table with a 22-4 win over Leigh Centurions.
With only 14 players available to Rovers boss John Duffy, the West Yorkshire club showed great desire to beat the Centurions despite their recent off-field troubles.
Tries from Josh Hardcastle, John Davies and Anthony Thackeray handed the Rovers a comfortable 16-0 lead at the break.
The second half scores came in the final quarter as Matty Dawson-Jones cut the deficit for Leigh before Matty Wildie sealed victory for Featherstone with a try two minutes from time.
One of the main highlights from an Eagles perspective against Dewsbury was the re-introduction of Blake Broadbent to the first team.
After impressing on dual-registration with Hemel Stags throughout 2018, ‘Beans’ added to his lone Eagles appearance against Leigh Centurions earlier this season with a professional outing.
Showing his ability with strong runs and a quick play-the-ball, Broadbent certainly showed he had what it takes to deal with some experienced Championship counterparts.
Although Broadbent’s performance was a definite plus point, the Eagles will still be hoping for improved performances across the board as they take on the leading Championship Shield club.
Sheffield can’t afford to be bullied in the forwards against a pack which contains the likes of rising star Luke Cooper, Scotland international Sam Brooks and the experienced James Lockwood.
Expect interesting battles across the pitch on Friday night but the main one will certainly come in the forwards on a fast Olympic Legacy Park track.
The Coach’s Comments
Mark Aston discussed the possible inclusions of Max Garcia and Mike Weldon as well as praising Blake Broadbent for his contribution against the Rams last week.
“Garcia and Weldon missed out last Friday so are in contention for a return. We'll have to have a check on one or two. We need to find a way to respond,” he said.
““The pleasing thing for me is we had the likes of Blake Broadbent, Paddy Burns, Greg Burns and Cory Aston on the pitch - that's four kids who came through our system and I look at that as a positive.
“The other big positive last weekend was Blake Broadbent's contribution.
“(He) came on for a big 20-25 minute stint and I thought that he was great.”
By Dan Fowler