Match Preview - Swinton Lions (H)
Sheffield Eagles will be aiming to complete their 2021 home campaign with a win on Sunday afternoon after a tough few weeks on the field.
The Eagles last tasted victory against Oldham before suffering defeats against Batley Bulldogs, London Broncos and most recently Dewsbury Rams.
Sunday’s visitors Swinton will be looking to finish a dismal season with a flourish after conceding relegation to League One.
The Lions sit bottom of the Betfred Championship table, having won just once this season.
LAST TIME OUT
Sheffield suffered a third successive defeat, at the hands of the Dewsbury Rams at the Keepmoat Stadium.
The Eagles initially trailed due to an Alex Smith score but led at the break thanks to tries from Tyler Dickinson and Anthony Thackeray which was added to by an Izaac Farrell penalty goal.
Dickinson’s converted crash over levelled the scores before Thackeray was in support of a superb Eagles break, started by Farrell.
A leisurely second half from the hosts meant Dewsbury were able to take control of the contest after the break.
The Rams ran in three converted tries courtesy of Keenen Tomlinson, Jordan Schofield and Andy Gabriel, the latter proved to be decisive with a last-minute score from retiree Rob Worrincy proving not enough for the Eagles who lost out 20-24.
Sunday’s visitors Swinton were also involved in a tight contest last weekend as the Championship’s basement club lost 32-34 against London Broncos.
Swinton started brightly in Sale, scores from Jack Hansen and Lewis Hatton opening up a 10-0 lead.
Two London tries in three minutes put the Broncos in front in a topsy-turvy first half.
Pat Moran’s score followed a try from Greg Richards, both were converted by Chris Hankinson.
The Lions regained their lead temporarily through Martyn Ridyard’s try, who made his four points into six with the conversion.
A quick-fire scoring spree from the visitors meant they led 16-28 at the half-time break.
Abbas Miski crossed before Sadiq Adebiyi and Gideon Boafo both touched down.
Boafo added his second after the break, with London’s last points coming via Hankinson’s successful conversion.
The season-long strugglers kept coming throughout the second half and nearly completed a miraculous comeback late on.
Mike Butt and Ben Heyes added the Swinton scores before Luis Roberts’ try three minutes from time.
Crucially, Roberts’ try was left unconverted - leaving Swinton with their 18th defeat of their season.
Eagles forward Oliver Davies will be aiming to impress when he faces his former employers on Sunday afternoon.
The second-row forward joined the Eagles from the Lions in 2018 and has become a fan favourite with the Sheffield supporters.
A consistent performer within the Eagles machine since his arrival, the 25-year-old is the only ex-Swinton player within the Sheffield ranks and will be looking to end the season with a good display in front of the home fans.
Swinton captain and second-rower Rhodri Lloyd is expected to face up against the Eagles on Sunday afternoon.
Lloyd first appeared for the Lions on dual-registration and scored a blistering nine tries in 12 appearances.
The Welsh international has now made over 100 appearances in Swinton colours and is always a threat, whether positioned at second-row or centre.
Early-bird discounted tickets are available from https://eagles.mysportstickets.co.uk/events/home/Swinton_Lions_810 but can be purchased on the day from the Keepmoat ticket office.
However, there will be a small price rise (£2 rise for adults and concessions, Junior tickets go to £5) if purchased on the day.
By Lewis Coleman, photo by Alex Coleman