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Betfred Championship R11: Halifax vs Sheffield Preview


After consecutive losses to Leigh Centurions, Sheffield Eagles will be looking to get back to winning ways when they face Halifax Panthers at The Shay this Sunday. 

The Eagles were 40-minutes away from their second 1895 Cup Final appearance last weekend as they led Leigh at half-time. However, the full-timers proved too strong for a Sheffield side that played most of the second half with just one substitute available. 

Halifax had the week off due to the cup semi-finals but their last outing was a successful one - a 10-30 victory over Newcastle Thunder at Kingston Park. 

Last Time Out

Halifax maintained their great form with a fifth successive victory in the Betfred Championship as they got the better of Newcastle. 

The Panthers started like a house on fire with two quick-fire tries from Lachlan Walmsley, although neither conversion attempt was successful.

Jack Croft responded for the hosts before James Woodburn-Hall, Zack McComb and Joe Keyes all registered tries within five minutes of each other. 

With a comfortable lead at the break, Halifax had a firm grip on proceedings. Both sides would add a try apiece in the second half - Newcastle’s coming courtesy of Croft again before Dan Murray crossed for the visitors. 

Sheffield put up a brave fight against Leigh in the 1895 Cup semis but came up short, losing 30-12 at the LSV. 

Kris Welham broke the deadlock for the Eagles, his effort converted by Izaac Farrell who would add a penalty goal soon after to extend the lead to two scores.

Sam Stone got Leigh on the scoreboard with a close-range effort but the final points of the half went the way of Izaac, with a penalty after the hooter had sounded. 

Kai O’Donnell put the Centurions in front for the first time after the break as Krisnan Inu added the extras.

A third Izaac penalty levelled matters with 20 minutes to go, giving Sheffield a chance to shock their big-spending opponents, but it would be Adrian Lam’s men who would book their place at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. 

Nene Macdonald, Caleb Aekins and Ed Chamberlain touched down in the final quarter to set up a Leigh vs Featherstone final. 

Key Battle - Adam Tangata | Evan Hodgson 

Adam Tangata has been a fans’ favourite in all of his stints at Halifax and it’s clear to see why. 

A strong runner with an eye for an offload, the Cook Islands international is certainly a key attacking weapon in the forward pack for the West Yorkshire side. 

Capable of playing in the front and back-row, Tangata started against Thunder at loose forward which would mean he’d come up against Evan Hodgson if both keep their place in their respective sides. 

Hodgson is highly rated by Director of Rugby Mark Aston for the work not many fans will notice. 

Every team needs a forward that isn’t flash and does ‘the dirty work’. Hodgson is certainly that man for the Eagles.

Already being compared to the likes of former Eagles, and Championship Grand Final winners, Peter Green and Alex Szostak, Hodgson has been a brilliant acquisition since signing from Newcastle Thunder last June. 

By Dan Fowler, photo by Alex Coleman