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Match Preview - Swinton Lions (A)

09/07/2021

Sheffield Eagles will be targeting a victory over Swinton Lions on Sunday, following a hard-fought draw against Dewsbury Rams last weekend.

The Eagles came from three scores down in the second half to claim a share of the spoils, with Izaac Farrell’s last-minute penalty levelling the score at 18-18. 

Meanwhile, Swinton were beaten away at Whitehaven and are still in search of their first points of the year.

Last Time Out 

Swinton were left thinking ‘what if’ after losing 36-22 to Whitehaven last Sunday. 

They overturned an 18-6 half-time deficit to take the lead on 50 minutes but a final quarter burst from the Cumbrians got them over the line. 

Deane Meadows broke the deadlock as the visitors took an early lead before both sides had a man sent to the sin-bin. 

Rhodri Lloyd and Lachlan Walmsley were shown yellow cards but only one try was scored in their absence, courtesy of Whitehaven’s Nikau Williams. 

Connor Holliday gave the hosts their first lead of the game on 24 minutes before Swinton’s Cobi Green was shown the third yellow card of the game, this one for a professional foul. 

Walmsley extended Haven’s lead before the break and Swinton were left with some work to do in the second half. 

Three Swinton tries inside the first ten minutes of the restart turned the game on its head. 

Paul Nash, Mitch Cox and Geronimo Doyle all crossed the whitewash as Swinton hit the front, 18-22. 

However, Whitehaven responded with three scores of their own before full-time to put the game beyond doubt. 

Walmsley, Karl Dixon and Holliday were the recipients before a penalty goal rubbed a bit of salt into the Lions’ wounds. 

Sheffield registered their third draw of 2021 as a late revival caught Dewsbury off guard. 

The Eagles were 18-4 down at half-time, their only try coming from Travis Corion. 

Dom Speakman got the Rams on the board first before Michael Knowles notched a brace - all of the hosts’ tries were converted by Paul Sykes. 

Sheffield also went down to 12 men for a short time as Izaac Farrell was sin-binned for a high tackle. 

Anthony Thackeray and Aaron Brown scored tries in quick succession either side of the hour mark to bring the Eagles back to within two points of their opponents.

A frantic final quarter ensued, with tensions rising on both sides. 

Joel Farrell won a penalty ten metres out from the Eagles line with a minute to go and after a few handbags with Dewsbury playmaker Liam Finn, both were sent to the sin-bin. 

Izaac was left to show nerves of steel to convert the penalty into two points, which proved to be the final scoring act of the afternoon. 

Key Battle

Every Eagles fan will have been looking forward to the return of Brad Knowles and Joel Farrell last weekend. 

The pair did not disappoint as they gained plenty of metres in attack and also showed their worth on the defensive end, with some bone-crunching collisions. 

This weekend could see the return of another forward. Scott Wheeldon is available after being suspended for his late shot on Kevin Larroyer in the defeat to Halifax last month. 

Swinton’s forward pack consisted of ex-Eagle Will Hope, Nick Gregson and Billy Brickhill in the back-row while Deane Meadows and Tom Spencer started as the props. 

Despite not picking up a league victory as of yet, Swinton certainly have plenty of go-forward that can worry any team if they get a head of steam. 

Eagles chief Mark Aston will have made his troops aware of this as they look to change their own fortunes following a turbulent couple of months. 

How To Watch

The game will not be shown on Our League so the only way you’ll be able to watch is by going to Heywood Road.  

Tickets are available from https://swintonlionsrlfc.co.uk/match-day/admission/

Match day tweets will also be available via twitter.com/sheffieldeagles

By Dan Fowler, photo by Alex Coleman