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Joel Farrell relishing leadership role


In the absence of Anthony Thackeray against Leigh Centurions last Friday, vice-captain Joel Farrell was promoted to the top job! 

When Farrell signed for the Eagles in 2019, many knew the Jamaican international as a firecracker second-row forward who could blow his lid at any moment. 

Mark Aston, Sheffield’s Director of Rugby, handed Farrell the role of vice-captain - as understudy to the experienced Thackeray - in the off-season and has been rewarded for that decision. 

“It has been good for me,” the Reggae Warrior commented.

"Getting the odd game as captain gives me more energy and more responsibility on the field. 

“It also keeps me calmer. I know my responsibilities and that I can’t run around like a mad man! 

“In my head, I’m still one of the young boys but I’m 28 now. It’s good to see the young boys coming through. 

“It’s weird to have people looking up to me rather than it being the other way around.” 

Despite the loss to Leigh in round ten of the Betfred Championship, Farrell was pleased with his side’s performance and has complimented his fellow forwards for their hard work so far this year.

“I’m not one of the biggest talkers, I try to lead by example,” he added.

“I gave them (the forwards) a few words before we went back in, just saying that we can beat these teams up in the middle. I’ve been impressed with how we’ve been this year. 

"I don’t think many looked at us at the start of the year and thought we were going to be a decent pack but we’ve come together, we play for each other and go out there to get as many metres as we can. 

“I can’t sing enough praises for the forwards this year so far.” 

Ahead of the rematch with the Centurions - this time in the AB Sundecks 1895 Cup semi-final - there is one particular improvement the second-rower wants his side to make. 

“I said to the boys after the game that we just need to be a bit more clinical,” Farrell said. 

“We weren’t playing a team that was around us, this was a team towards the top of the league. 

"We won’t beat them by fitness, we’re not going to get people tired so we just need to be really clinical, the timing and our lines have to be perfect. 

“If we can do that, we give ourselves a chance of winning. 

“We’re confident for every game, that’s the thing about this team this year. 

“We don’t fear anyone, we’re not worried about anyone, we go out there and do our best. 

“We know if we’re at our best on this day, we can beat anyone. Anything can happen in cup rugby. A few of us have been there before and won it. 

"The final is at Tottenham this time, a stadium we’ve never played at, so I’m desperate to go back and win it again. 

“I know all the boys are excited and we’ve been telling some of the new ones about the weekend away when we won at Wembley and how it is the highlight of our careers.” 

Joel is sponsored by Barnsley and Rotherham Chamber of Commerce & Daniel Crofts

By Dan Fowler, photo by Alex Coleman