SHEFFIELD Eagles shrugged off any hangover from their Northern Rail Cup exit by completing the league double over Batley.
A battling second half revival saw the Eagles come back from 24-6 at half-time but they took Batley apart with five tries in the final 22 minutes. The Eagles had struggled to cope with playing up Batley’s famous sloping pitch in the first half.
Coach Mark Aston switched Scott Turner to centre for the injured Menzie Yere with Vinny Finigan coming in on the wing. Forwards Alex Szostak, Ryan Hepworth and on-loan hooker James Davey came in into the subs. Only a great tackle by Nev Morrison prevented a try after Batley’s winger Alex Brown intercepted a Simon Brown kick.
Two penalties put Batley in the Eagles 20 metre zone and Ben Black sent in prop Mark Applegareth under the posts with Gareth Moore adding the goal. The pressure was lifted when Quentin Laulu-Togagae’ s darting run sent in Finigan for a try. Brown added the goal.
The Eagles comeback didn’t last long before they were hit by two tries in six minutes. Winger Gareth Potts swept in and on the other flank Alex Brown intercepted a long pass to go the length of the field.
Batley turned the screw with loose forward Chris Lythe going under the posts and with Moore’s goals they trailed 24-6 at half-time.
From the restart a knock denied the Eagles an early morale-boosting try as the Bulldogs defence held firm.
Eagles had to wait until nearly three-quarter time before they got their first points of the half with Finigan taking a high kick from Brambani to go over in the corner for his second try. With game live on satellite TV the video ref awarded the try.
The revival stepped up a pace with three quick-fire ties. Brambani, Laulu-Togagae combined to send Morrison in at the other corner on the Eagles right..
Brown, Taulapapa went the same route to put Laulu-Toagae over and Brown, who had missed the two earlier kicks, added the goal to cut the deficit to four points.
Momentum was running with the Eagles and they took the lead with centre Turner taking a high Brambani kick to drop over the line and Brown added the goal. In the final minute prop Mitch Stringer forced his way over and Brown added the goal.
n Eagles: Laulu-Togagae; Finigan, Turner, Taulapapa, Morrison; Simon Brown, Brambani; Howieson, Henderson, Stringer, Knowles, Scott, Hirst.