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Eagles lose to Halifax in Championship thriller

26/07/2021

Sheffield Eagles suffered a seventh loss of the season on Sunday afternoon as an in-form Halifax Panthers side triumphed 28-40. 

Eagles captain Matt James returned to the Sheffield side, replacing Tyler Dickinson, who started on the interchange bench.

Mark Aston’s side opened the scoring in Wakefield through Ryan Millar, the winger finished off a slick move after the ball was worked to the left edge.

Izaac Farrell converted the first score of the day in a near-perfect day from the tee for the stand-off.

Jacob Fairbank touched down a Brandon Moore grubber kick five minutes later, Liam Harris added the extras.

Fax added their second score on 29 minutes when Adam Tangata touched down a Harris grubber kick.

The Eagles replied with points of their own and after a spell of pressure due to a Panthers knock-on and goal-line drop-out the Eagles pulled level through Anthony Thackeray’s converted try.

The scrum-half dummied to pass before diving over the Halifax line.

Halifax edged in front before the half-time hooter sounded, thanks to Conor McGrath’s score.

A third grubber kick deep in Eagles territory caused an issue for the defence, this time Worrincy was nutmegged before McGrath touched down. Harris finished the half with an unsuccessful conversion.

HALF-TIME: SHEFFIELD EAGLES 12-16 HALIFAX PANTHERS

The second forty minutes lived up to the first-half entertainment and Sheffield started the half in a similar style, scoring first through Millar.

After originally collecting Thackeray’s cross-field kick, James Saltonstall’s fumble allowed a walk-in score for the Eagles winger. Farrell converted as the Eagles regained their lead.

Halifax regained the advantage in a topsy-turvy contest, Fairbank barrelled over underneath the sticks. Harris converted for a four-point lead.

After the hour mark, Sheffield edged in front for the final time in the game - Millar was involved yet again, firstly, gathering a tough kick before sprinting 80 metres downfield.

Millar’s work allowed a platform for Sheffield to attack the Panthers line and after working the ball right, Aaron Brown slid over to score, with Farrell’s conversion putting the Eagles in front.

Simon Grix’s side hit the Eagles with a quickfire sucker punch as the lead proved too great for Sheffield to recover from.

Tangata added his second try before he danced past the Eagles defence for his hat-trick, both tries were converted by Harris.

Millar completed his hat-trick seven minutes from time to give the Eagles hope but it was Halifax who scored next to seal the victory.

Harris collected his own kick to score, moments before the final hooter sounded.

FULL-TIME: SHEFFIELD EAGLES 28-40 HALIFAX PANTHERS

By Lewis Coleman, photo by Alex Coleman