RUGBY LEAGUE: Eagles one step closer to glory

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SHEFFIELD Eagles produced great attacking rugby to avenge three defeats by Halifax this season and book their place in the Championship play-off elimination semi-final.

It was a case of history repeating itself as the Eagles beat Halifax for the second year running at this stage of the play-offs. Now they face a trip to Leigh Centurions on Thursday night – where they won last year to make their first Grand Final.

Coach Mark Aston praised the way the Eagles ran in 10 tries and stopped Fax scoring until 50 minutes into the game. “We had a bit of unfinished business and we’ve come here and put it right,” he said. “The lads are capable of anything when they get their heads on and get their attitude right.”

Eagles were clinical when it came to putting points on the board with fullback Quentin Laulu-Togagae coming into the line with devastating effect to score two early crucial tries. Stand-off Simon Brown’s kicking game was precise and Mitch Stringer produced some telling offloads.

Laulu-Togagage sent centre Duane Straugheir in for the opening try then grabbed two for himself in as many minutes.

Stringer’s offload created the first and the prop started the second with a pass to Brown sent the fullback weaving in. Fax were starting to get more into the game until Brown put in a cross-field kick which former Eagles winger Rob Worrincy could only palm back for Scott Turner to touch down.

With seven seconds of the half left Halifax were penalised and Brown kicked his third goal for a 22-0 lead to the Eagles.

Soon after the restart Knowles set up a second try for Turner.

Fax got a score with a Paul Handforth try but three Eagles scores in six minutes ended any comeback. Knowles went behind the posts and Laulu-Togagae sent centre Menzie Yere diving in. Prop Stringer got in on the act bustling his way over under the posts.

Worrincy went in at the corner for Fax and Tyrer’s try put Fax into double figures.

In between the Eagles 50 points came up with Dominic Brambani sneaking over and Brown kicking his seventh goal of the game. Yere’s second try soon followed.

Eagles: Laulu-Togagae; Turner, Yere, Straugheir, Taulapapa; Brown, Brambani; Howieson, Henderson, Stringer, Knowles, Scott, Scostak. Subs: Davey, Green, Hirst, Higgins.

Tries: Straugheir, 6, Laulu-Togagae, 9, 14, Turner, 36, 48, Knowles, 57, Yere, 59, 74, Brambani, 69.

Goals: Brown: 7/11.