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Match Preview - Whitehaven (H)

28/05/2021

Sheffield Eagles will be aiming to respond to their third defeat of the Championship season on Sunday afternoon when Whitehaven visit the Keepmoat Stadium.

The Eagles lost to the unbeaten Featherstone Rovers 18-50, in a game where both sets of fans were welcomed back into the stadium. 

Sunday’s visitors Whitehaven followed up a 0-66 hammering from the unbeaten Toulouse with a second loss on the bounce against Widnes Vikings.

A strong second-half performance from Widnes blew away Gary Charlton’s side, who were beaten 44-6.

LAST TIME OUT

The Eagles suffered a third defeat of the season at the hands of the high-flying Featherstone.

Rovers wingers Jacob Doyle and Gareth Gale scored early tries before Jack Bussey extended the visitors’ lead.

The Eagles registered their first points of the game when Brad Knowles powered over from close range.

James Lockwood restored the visitors' advantage before Eagles debutant Bobby Tyson-Wilson bulldozed his way past the Fev defence.

Field and Gale added their second scores, leaving the Eagles 20 points down at the break.

Nu Brown dived over before Featherstone captain Lockwood touched down for his double. Craig Hall’s converted try soon followed. 

The Eagles were the last scorers of the afternoon through Izaac Farrell.

Farrell showed his magic feet close to the line to step past the Featherstone defence.

The last fortnight has been a rough one for all connected with Whitehaven. The Marras were nilled at the Recre by the unbeaten Toulouse Olympique before last weekend’s loss against Widnes Vikings.

Despite a heavy 44-6 scoreline, in the end, Haven only trailed 14-0 at the break with Brad O’Neill and Adam Lawton the first-half try scorers for the hosts.

Danny Craven added a quick-fire double for the Vikings after the interval, with Steve Tyrer converting both scores.

Jake Bradley then barged over for the lone Whitehaven score of the afternoon, prior to the Vikings turning the screw.

Will Tilleke and former Eagle Jack Owens crossed for tries ahead of Lawton’s second of the game, which capped off a comfortable win for Widnes.

KEY BATTLE

Josh Guzdek has been a fixture in the Eagles side this season and could come up against a talented full-back in Gregg McNally on Sunday afternoon.

The former Dewsbury man signed for the Eagles in 2019 and has since provided safety under high kicks, along with an impressive attacking game.

McNally made his second appearance of the 2021 season last time out against Widnes and will be hoping his presence can inspire a better result against Sheffield.

The Irish international, who re-signed for his hometown club in the off-season, originally broke through at the club before he moved onto Huddersfield Giants and then Leigh Centurions.

McNally made 176 appearances for Leigh, over two spells at the club, which proved to be successful for the 30-year-old who scored 111 tries over eight years.

By Lewis Coleman, photo by Alex Coleman