Match Preview - York City Knights (A)
Following a brilliant start to their league campaign against Bradford Bulls, Sheffield Eagles will be aiming to make it two wins from two when they travel to York City Knights on Sunday.
The Eagles beat Bradford 50-12 in the season opener, bouncing back from defeat to York in the Challenge Cup last month.
Mark Aston’s men have had a week off so will be fresh for the trip to the LNER Community Stadium. York, on the other hand, played Wigan Warriors in the cup last Friday.
Last Time Out
Sheffield Eagles went straight to the top of the Championship table thanks to a 50-12 triumph over Bradford Bulls at the Keepmoat Stadium.
The hosts blew John Kear’s side away in the first half, going into the break 28-0 to the good, and they kept up the good work in the second period by notching another five tries.
James Glover and Aaron Brown both scored doubles in the first 40 minutes, with Josh Guzdek and Joel Farrell also getting on the scoresheet.
In the opening stages of the second half, it was still all too easy for the Eagles as Izaac Farrell finished off yet another break but Bradford did start to show some spirit.
They got on the board through Adam Rooks and Joe Brown, however this proved to be their only attacking glory.
Anthony Thackeray bagged a brace of his own before Ryan Millar capped off an easy day at the office with a try underneath the sticks.
York City Knights proved stiff opposition for Super League powerhouses Wigan Warriors in the Challenge Cup but James Ford’s valiant troops could only succumb to a 26-0 defeat.
It took 20 minutes for Wigan to get on the board as Zak Hardaker touched down.
Harry Smith and Sam Halsall soon followed the full-back over the whitewash, with York heading into the sheds 14-0 down at the interval.
Umyla Hanley and Tony Clubb wrapped up victory for Adrian Lam’s men in the second half but the scoreline will not have played on York’s mind as they certainly showed character and steel in abundance.
It’s going to be another big forward battle at the weekend as the Eagles look to right the wrongs from their defeat to York earlier on in the year.
With the likes of Adam Cuthbertson and James Green in the York ranks, they have Super League experience that the Eagles will need to meet head-on.
Coach Ford has also been busy in the loan market, bolstering his forward pack with the signings of Lewis Peachey and Yusuf Aydin from Castleford Tigers and Wakefield Trinity respectively.
Whether Peachey or Aydin play at the weekend remains to be seen, but two more promising youngsters added into the ranks can only be a good thing for the Knights.
Battling the Knights’ heavy artillery will be an Eagles pack that showed what they’re capable of against the Bulls.
Club Captain Matt James, now back from injury, was a constant metre eater while fellow prop Brad Knowles was also in menacing form.
Knowles will not be available for the Knights game due to a rib injury so it’ll open up a spot for someone else to show their worth.
Off the bench against Bradford came Tyler Dickinson, Paddy Burns and Blake Broadbent who were all in fine form and gave their opposite numbers a headache.
It’ll be interesting to see if any of those three move into a starting spot for the weekend or whether Scott Wheeldon, included in the 21-man squad, will be drafted into the deep end.
How To Watch
You can watch the Eagles take on York live on #OurLeague - an early-bird pass for the live stream costs just £4.95 from rugby-league.com/livestream
The price rises to £10 on the day of the game so make sure to buy before Sunday.
By Dan Fowler, photo by Alex Coleman