Eagles buoyed by confidence-boosting win

Dominic Brambani converts again
Dominic Brambani converts again

The patient is showing signs of being back to form is the diagnosis of coach Mark Aston after a big win at North Wales Crusaders.

It’s not a clear bill of health with critical games to come this month which could force a relapse.

Aston’s prescription was to build on the second half performance in the Challenge Cup at Castleford and the cure worked with a 56-6 win in Wrexham.

“Just what the doctor ordered,” said Aston. “We took a bit out of the Castleford game and took it forward at Crusaders. We just have to keep the momentum going.”

Third in the league Featherstone Rovers provide the first test when they come to Owlerton Stadium on Sunday (kick-off 2pm).

That’s followed by a trip to Batley Bulldogs and then a home game against unbeaten Championship leaders Leigh Centurions. Games with Featherstone have an edge. Defeat at Rovers late last season cost the Eagles the league leader’s shield.

After back-to-back defeats to Leigh, in the Challenge Cup and 29-10 in the league at home, last Sunday, Rovers need a win.

Eagles must reproduce their away form at Owlerton where performances have been patchy with only one win in three league games.

Aston said: “Featherstone is always a big game but after losing to Leigh they will come to us smarting and it’ll be a massive tussle, it’ll be physical. We’ve got to keep building and meet the challenge.”

Eagles were boosted against Crusaders by the surprise return of centre Menzie Yere. It was feared that the club’s record try scorer was out for the season with a knee injury but was included after returning to training.

Fullback Quentin Laulu-Togagae and winger Scott Turner both scored hat-tricks of tries but the show was run by Dominic Brambani. The half-back controlled the play as he revelled in the big pitch at Wrexham’s Racecourse ground. Laulu-Togagae, Misi Taulapapa and two tries from Turner gave the Eagles a 22-0 lead at half-time.

Crusaders points came soon after the restart but then Bambani-inspired Eagles dominated as Turner and Laulu-Toagagae completing their hat-tricks with Gareth Owen, Patch Walker and Yere adding tries.

Brambani finished with eight goals.

“Dom (Brambani) was composed and when he’s that he’s one of the best half-backs in the competition,” said Aston. “Having Menzie is a bonus and there are a few more due to come back (from injury) in the next few weeks.”