Eagles end Widnes jinx in play-offs

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SHEFFIELD Eagles battled to their first win over Widnes in five seasons in the first round of the Championship play-offs.

A Vikings team that will play in the Super League next season produced a late flurry of tries which had the Eagles hanging on before Quentin Laulu-Tagagae sealed the game two minutes from time with his second try.

On the back of an early penalty the Eagles used the field position to pressure the Widnes line with stand-off Quentin Laulu-Togagae twisting over from dummy half for the first try. Simon Brown added the goal.

Widnes were struggling but two penalties in succession put them into the Eagles 20-metres zone and Danny Craven’s pass sent winger Paddy Flynn in at the corner.

Eagles hit back with Mitch Stringer’s burst taking him clear before passing to stand-off Dane McDonald to touch down. Brown added the goal.

Widnes forced a double set of six and laid siege to the Eagles try line but were met with determined defending.

Play was frantic as both teams struggled to control possession with handling errors creeping in.

A penalty for holding down on Peter Green gave Brown the chance to extend the Eagles lead to 14-4 three minutes from half-time.

Brown pushed out the Eagles lead with a penalty from 30 metres out after a high tackle soon after the restart.

Flynn weaved his way past poor tackling to put Widnes back in the game with Craven adding the goal.

Eagles hit back immediately with McDonald taking the ball on the burst and crashing over for his second try.

It was just what the Eagles needed and Misi Taulapapa finished a passing move to force his way in at the corner. Brown kicked both goals.

Ex-Eagles centre Tangi Ropati and Craven pulled tries back as Widnes battered the Eagles line in a frantic late rally before Laulu-Togagae’s late try. Brown added the goal and penalty on the hooter after Widnes’ restart kick went out on the full.

n Eagles: Laulu-Togagae; Finigan, Taulapapa, Hanson, Bergin; McDonald, Brown; Howieson, Henderson, Stringer, Szostak, Green, Hirst. Subs: Woodcock, Smith, Scott, Hepworth.

n Tries: Laulu-Togage, 5, 78, McDonald 18, 52, Taulapapa, 59. Goals: Brown 8/9.

n Widnes: Craven; Flynn, Ropati, Grady, Gardner; Mellor, James Coyle; Pickersgill, Thomas Coyle, Kavanagh, Leuluai, Finnigan, Allen. Subs:Varkaulis, Haggerty, Tomkins, Crosby.

n Tries: Flynn 14, 50, Ropati 66, Craven 74. Goals: Craven 2/4.

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