Eagles kick off Shield games in fine style

Quentin Laulu-Togagae
Quentin Laulu-Togagae

Sheffield Eagles made it three wins on the spin for the first time this season after a 48-16 victory over struggling Whitehaven.

The Eagles recovered from a poor first half showing to dominate and maintain their impressive run of recent results, against a Haven side now staring relegation firmly in the face.

The Eagles, in red hot form leading into their first home game of the Championship Shield, were stunned as Haven made all the early running.

The visitors bagged two early tries, the first through Liam Carberry after a break by Anthony Walker, converted by Louis Jouffret, and the second score two minutes later when Steve Fox dived over, but Jouffret missed the extras.

The home side eventually warmed to the task to reduce the gap following a scrum 10 metres out. The ball was played to the returning Elliot Minchella, whose purposeful break couldn’t be halted as he forced his way over. Cory Aston added the two in front of the sticks.

As the first half drew to a close, the Eagles hit the front when the hosts reacted quickest to Aston’s deflected kick, and quick hands involving Michael Knowles amongst others resulted in a try for Quentin Laulu-Togagae. Aston converted for a narrow lead.

The visitors kept their heads and sneaked a try right on the hooter when Ryan Duffy’s offload to Grant Gore resulted in a try, and Jouffret added the two.

With coach Aston’s words no doubt ringing in their ears, the Eagles started the second half on the front foot with Matty Fozard’s try on the stretch successfully converted by Aston to nudge the home side back into the lead.

There was clearly much more of a spring to the Eagles’ play, and they further strengthened their grip on the game when Laulu-Togagae took advantage of some sloppy defending to bag his second try which was converted by Aston.

After some strong work defensively, skipper Steve Thorpe pierced some more suspect Haven defending to score under the posts. Aston added the extras.

The game was sewn up when Rob Worrincy’s 70 metre sprint gave the hosts position, and the ball was eventually switched for Minchella for an easy run-in. Aston added the two.

Nathan Chappell rounded off an impressive second half display with a seventh try, and Laulu-Togagae completed his hat-trick on the hooter, with Aston and Knowles converting to add further gloss.

Eagles: Laulu-Togagae; Lo, Yere, Chappell, Worrincy; Aston, Robin; Thorpe, Carlile, Wheeldon; James, Straugheir; Margalet. Interchange: Neal, Knowles, Fozard, Minchella.

Scorers: Tries: Minchella (21, 70), Laulu-Togagae (32, 50, 80), Fozard (43), Thorpe (61), Chappell (73) Goals: Aston 7/7, Knowles 1/1

Whitehaven: Jouffret; Burns, Taylor, Perez, Holliday; Aiye, Gore; Walker, Coyle, Chapelhow; Allen, Forster; Carberry. Interchange: Newton, Davies, Duffy, Fox.

Scorers: Tries: Carberry (14), Fox (16), Gore (40) Goals: Jouffret 2/3

Referee: Jack Smith

Attendance: 412