Betfred Championship R12: Sheffield vs Widnes Preview
Sheffield Eagles make their long awaited return to the Olympic Legacy Park on Monday evening when Widnes Vikings visit the Community Stadium.
Sheffield come into the contest which will be televised on Premier Sports on the back of three straight defeats including two away trips to Leigh and a defeat last time out at Halifax.
After being kept scoreless for the first half of the match, Mark Aston’s men were on the wrong end of a 38-14 scoreline at full-time.
Ben Tibbs scored a first-half double along with tries from James Woodburn-Hall and Lachlan Walmslay.
The Eagles were put further behind quickly after the restart when James Saltonstall went over for the Panthers.
Ben Jones-Bishop and Kris Welham added quick-fire back-to-back Sheffield scores around the hour mark before Brandon Moore’s try.
In the final 10 minutes of the game Ryan Johnson collected a score on the Sheffield left wing after a looping ball from Izaac Farrell before Tibbs completed his hat-trick six minutes from time.
Widnes Vikings ended a long streak of bad form last time out with a victory over Whitehaven RLFC.
The Cheshire side had lost six league matches on the bounce before the Cumbrians visited the DCBL Stadium.
After Joe Martin opened the scoring for the visitors after five minutes Widnes sprung into life and scored nine scores without reply.
Former Eagle Matty Fozard bagged a first career hat-trick as well as scores from Sam Wilde, Owen Farnworth, Joe Lyons, Joe Edge, Callum Field and Steve Tyrer.
The hosts were dealt with conceding two late consolation tries in the final five minutes but it was still a very successful day at the office for the Vikings.
Key Battle: Tom Holmes | Matty Fozard
This weekend’s key battle selection is between the two side's hookers, Tom Holmes and Matty Fozard.
The Eagles will be without their first choice hooker Vila Halafihi for the first time this season following his offseason arrival.
Halafihi’s omission from the squad is likely to present a starting opportunity for loanee Tom Holmes.
Widnes hooker Matty Fozard is one of four former Sheffield stars that could feature against the Eagles on Monday night.
Wembley-winning heroes Davies and Brown along with former loan starJake Spedding join Fozard as part of the Vikings’ 21-man squad for the Championship contest.
The former St Helens Academy product is in his first season with his hometown club after he spent three seasons in the capital with London Broncos after he departed South Yorkshire in 2018.
Fozard became a fan favourite in Sheffield during his three year stint in Sheffield where he racked up 94 appearances in Red and Gold.
By Lewis Coleman, graphic by Alex Coleman