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Friendly defeat but four new signings boost Sheffield Eagles

Bradford v Eagles
Bradford v Eagles
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Sheffield Eagles were beaten 12-6 against Bradford Bulls in their opening pre-season friendly as Mark Aston gave an opportunity to a number of trialists, writes Matt Young.

Just prior to their pre-season curtain raiser the Eagles confirmed that ex-Leeds and Castleford full-back Jordan Tansey was one of four players to join the club on a temporary basis.

Registration issues meant that Tansey wasn’t available for the pre-season opener, but ex-Wakefield half-back Tom McGretton, former Catalans utility man Max Garcia and Blake Broadbent, son of Eagles legend Paul, were all included in the squad to face the Bulls.

Director of rugby Aston also selected a host of new permanent signings with Ilies Macani, Joshua Toole, Ollie Davies, Shaun Pick, Daniel Igbinedion and former Bradford pair Jon Magrin and Oscar Thomas all starting.

It was a quiet opening with Magrin fluffing an opportunity to have an impact against his former club, after spilling the ball close to the line on 13 minutes.

The same player was held on the last tackle three minutes later as the Eagles pressed for the first score.

After 20 minutes of stalemate, Matty James knocked on when it looked likely he would open the scoring, but with seven minutes remaining until the break, Aston’s side broke the deadlock.

Former Bradford ace Thomas profited from an interception to score his first try and also converted to give the Eagles a half-time lead.

Bradford responded late in the second half, and with 11 minutes remaining they levelled the score when Steve Crossley powered over and Rowan Milnes converted.

The Bulls secured the win late on after mistakes from Ryan Millar and Macani, lead to a converted try for Dalton Grant.

Meanwhile, there has been a change of venue for the Eagles’ second pre-season friendly against dual-registration partners St. Helens.

The match has been switched from Saints’ home at Langtree Park to Ruskin Sports Village.

The date is the same, with the friendly taking place on Saturday 20th January, kick off 3.30pm.

Bradford: Pickersgill; Grant, Gibson, Oakes, Rickett; Smith, Minchella; Crossley, Butterworth, Kirk; Johnson, Garside; Hallas. Interchange: Ryan, Brown, Milnes, Goodall, Halafihi, Peltier, King, Hodgson.

Eagles: Millar; Macani, Igbinedion Toole, Blackmore; Thomas, Fozard; Magrin, Burns, James; Davies, Pick; Moran. Interchange: Broadbent, Megretton, Garcia.