Sheffield Eagles will play Bradford Bulls in the Championship Shield Final after a 32-46 victory over Halifax at The Shay.
With the genuine reality of this possibly being the last ever game for the club, Mark Aston’s fired-up troops put in a performance full of guts and determination, with the platform for victory set by a stunning first half display.
The Eagles made a blistering opening, signalling their intentions from the first second when Cory Aston opted for a short kick-off.
On four minutes a fantastic team move involving Scott Wheeldon and Elliot Minchella saw Rhys Jacks over the line to score. Aston converted.
The visitors increased their lead when Wheeldon smashed his way over the line from close range, and Aston again converted.
The home side had barely been out of their own half in the opening quarter, as Aston kicked a penalty to put the Eagles 14 points in front.
It got better when Adam Neal crashed over for another converted try following a short pass from Aston.
Aston kicked another penalty just before the half hour mark as the home side started to press the self-destruct button.
The Eagles’ dominance was further underlined when George Tyson spun out of two tackles to score in the corner, but Aston missed the extras.
Fax dragged themselves back into the game through James Woodburn-Hall’s converted try, but again indiscipline cost the hosts a further two points after Aston kicked another penalty in front of the sticks.
Halifax drew first blood in the second stanza through Ed Barber’s try, but Gareth Moore missed the extras. Brandon Moore’s converted try then further reduced the deficit, as the Eagles started to stutter.
Aston then kicked another penalty to move the Eagles 14 points in front, to dent the home side’s mini-resurgence.
But the momentum looked to have turned in Halifax’s favour when Woodburn-Hall bagged his second try after the Eagles failed to deal with a kick to the corner. Moore missed the extras.
It was the Eagles though who grabbed the vital next try, with Rob Worrincy scoring in the corner off the back of a brilliant 40/20 from Aston, who missed the conversion.
The nerves returned when Woodburn-Hall’s hat-trick was converted, but a length of the field converted try from Garry Lo following an interception, and a second try for Tyson, also converted, saw the Eagles over the line despite a late Mitch Cahalane score. The last word went to Gareth Moore who saw red late on following a confrontation with Wheeldon who was sin-binned.
Eagles: Laulu-Togagae; Worrincy, Tyson, Chappell, Blackmore; Aston, Jacks; Wheeldon, Carlile, Neal; James, Straugheir; Minchella. Interchange: Knowles, Fozard, Mexico, Lo.
Scorers: Tries: Jacks (4), Wheeldon (10), Neal (17), Tyson (29, 75), Worrincy (64), Lo (72) Goals: Aston 9/11
Halifax Scorers: Tries: Woodburn-Hall (32, 59, 65), Barber (42), B. Moore (48), Cahalane (78) Goals: G. Moore 4/6