Sheffield Eagles’ wings clipped by Championship leaders
Sheffield Eagles lost ground on the Championship front runners after a 40-10 defeat against leaders Toronto Wolfpack at the New River Stadium.
In what was always going to be a big ask, the Eagles put in a competitive showing but the Championship’s big spenders pulled clear in the second half to move four points clear of Mark Aston’s side.
Aston gave a debut to new loan signing Pat Moran, and also included London trio Ben Hellewell, Sadiq Adebiyi and Dan Hindmarsh on dual-registration, as he looked to strengthen his hand following defeat against Leigh last weekend.
The new additions looked to have hardened up his ranks, with the Eagles producing a couple of solid defensive sets early on.
Toronto eventually broke through on 10 minutes after making up ground through back-to-back penalties. After Adam Sidlow was held up, the resistance was broken on the last when Chase Stanley crossed, but Gareth O’Brien missed the extras.
The Wolfpack increased their advantage despite two try-saving tackles by Josh Guzdek, with Matty Russell again going over on the last. O’Brien missed the conversion.
The Eagles though were right back in the contest just three minutes later when Anthony Thackeray’s sharp pass was straight into the path of Oliver Davies who crashed over, but Pat Walker missed the extras.
The Canadians held out before finishing the half strongly, and with three minutes until the break, a converted score from Tom Olbison, followed by a try for Andy Ackers gave Toronto a 14-point advantage.
Blake Wallace’s try from Jon Wilkin’s pass just after the break had the ‘hosts’ clear, with Wallace himself successfully taking on the kicking duties.
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After a good spell from the Eagles, they were dealt a blow when Brad Knowles was helped off with an injury.
Aston’s side stuck at it though and gave themselves a glimmer when Ryan Millar went over following a clever offload from James Glover, and Walker converted.
Russell’s second try on the hour all but sealed the game for Toronto, as the Eagles were left to rue not being able to take advantage of several moments of good territory.
Late converted tries from Wallace and Sidlow sealed the points, as they Eagles slipped to only their second defeat in the league this season.
Toronto: O’Brien; Miloudi; Stanley, Leutele; Russell; Wallace, McCrone; Sidlow, Ackers, Sims; Dixon, Olbison; Wilkin. Interchange: Springer, Lussick, Mullally, Fash.
Eagles: Guzdek; Millar, Glover, Hellewell, Blackmore; Walker, Thackeray; Moran, Davey, James, Davies, Farrell; Brown. Interchange: Adebiyi, Hindmarsh, Makelim, Knowles.
Scorers: Tries: Davies (22), Millar (50) Goals: Walker 1/2