RUGBY LEAGUE: Angry Aston seeks Eagles improvement

Menzie Yere gets blocked off
Menzie Yere gets blocked off
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SHEFFIELD Eagles made sure of a fourth place finish in the Championship and booked a home game in the opening round of the play-offs.

Batley’s 26-20 defeat at Halifax means the Eagles will face the Bulldogs when they open their bid to reach a second Grand Final.

Eagles dominated their final league game of the season at Dewsbury for the opening 50 minutes then went off the boil.

“A win is a win but we’ll face a tough battle with Batley and we’ll have to be a lot better than this,” said coach Mark Aston. “This isn’t the way to prepare for knock out rugby.”

Eagles targeted the Dewsbury right side defence from the kick-off with Michael Knowles a constant threat and Quentin Laulu-Togagae coming into the line.

Dominic Brambani on his return to his old club faced chants of ‘Judas’ from a group of home fans and replied with a busy performance. The scrum-half had the final word scoring a try in the last minute.

Early pressure saw Mitch Stringer held up over the line before a break by Michael Knowles put stand-off Dane McDonald in for the opening try.

Second rower Knowles set up the second offloading to Misi Taulapapa whose pass put winger Nev Morrison over.

Eagles switched play to their right where Brambani and Laulu-Togagae combined for Taulapapa to finish near the flag.

Brambani failed to kick the goals and the Eagles lead was cut in half two minutes from the break when substitute hooker Matthew Tebb went in from dummy half and Patch Walker added the two points.

The Rams’ right was under attack from the restart with McDonald and Knowles providing the gap for centre Menzie Yere to finish. Brambani got his kicking range and added the goal.

Dewsbury hit back with a try from winger Jermaine Akaidere and a Walker conversion. Eagles immediately restored the margin with substitute hooker James Davey going in from dummy half and Brambani adding the goal.

The game was drifting until two late tries for the Rams from centre Greg Scott and Ryan Esders and a Walker goal cut the Eagles lead to four points.

Almost on the hooter, Brambani ghosted past a couple of defenders for a try which he converted.

n RAMS: Craven; Akaidere, Scott, Cosgrove, Wainwright; Walker, Spaven; Singleton, Hood, Chandler, Spicer, Tonks, Blake. Subs: Tebb, Esders, Barlow, Flanaghan.

n EAGLES: Laulu-Togagae; Morrison, Yere, Turner, Taulapapa; McDonald, Brambani; Howieson, Henderson, Stringer, Knowles, Scott, Szostak. Subs: Davey, Green, Hepworth, Higgins.

n TRIES: McDonald, 5, Morrison, 9, Taulapapa, 25, Yere, 42, Davey, 29, Brambani 39.

n GOALS: Brambani 3/6.

n REFEREE: Warren Turley.