Eagles show fight in defeat to Featherstone
Sheffield Eagles suffered back-to-back defeats for the first time this season, as they lost out 44-18 to league-leaders Featherstone Rovers.
Eagles chief Mark Aston welcomed Izaac Farrell back into the starting 13; Jason Bass also returned from injury, starting the match on the bench.
The Eagles started brightly in the West Yorkshire sunshine but it was the hosts who opened the scoring through Joey Leilua after seven minutes.
Featherstone were in an unforgiving mood in the first forty and Sheffield paid the price; Luke Briscoe touched down after Matty Chrimes failed to deal with a grubber kick.
Ryley Jacks was next over the whitewash for the hosts as he weaved through the Eagles defence.
Sheffield took advantage of a temporary man advantage when Josh Hardcastle was sent to the sin bin.
Anthony Thackeray’s looping pass found Ben Jones-Bishop, who muscled over in the corner for the Eagles’ first score of the contest.
Rovers added two tries in two minutes shortly after BJB’s score; Briscoe was set free on the right-wing following a scrum set play before Craig Hall added Rovers’ fifth in the opposite corner after a pass outside from Jacks.
Half-time - Featherstone Rovers 26-4 Sheffield Eagles
Sheffield started the second half brilliantly and registered the first two scores in the first 10 minutes.
Blake Broadbent dived over for his first league try of the season following a short, power pass from Vila Halafihi.
Connor Bower managed to get away an offload close to the Featherstone line which allowed Martyn Reilly to slam the ball down in front of the travelling Sheffield support.
Matty Wildie settled the nerves of the Featherstone faithful as he went over to score just shy of the hour mark.
Another short ball from Halafihi at dummy-half meant another Eagles try, this time it was Bower’s turn to score what was his first in Red and Gold.
Rovers registered two scores in the final 10 minutes to seal their victory.
First, Morgan Smith spotted a gap in the Eagles' defence to waltz through before Briscoe touched down for his hat-trick.
Full-time - Featherstone Rovers 44-18 Sheffield Eagles
The Eagles return to Featherstone next Saturday as the Millennium Stadium hosts Sheffield’s 1895 Cup play-off against Whitehaven.
By Lewis Coleman, photo by Alex Coleman