The fight for Championship survival took a new twist as Sheffield Eagles are again looking firmly over their shoulder following defeat to Swinton.
The Eagles failed to capitalise on their success against Barrow at the Summer Bash after another defeat at the Olympic Legacy Park, which has seen just one victory since the the return to the Steel City at the start of this season.
Crucially Sunday’s defeat moved Swinton off the foot of the table and within striking distance of the Eagles, who are now just two points clear of the Lions after their latest setback.
Mark Aston’s side appeared to have made strides in recent weeks after a spirited showing in defeat against London Broncos, followed by an impressive victory over Barrow, but an inspired Swinton side took the spoils which has now bunched up the bottom four sides in the Championship standings.
“Teams at the bottom have played each other recently, there have been some big games, and there are big games still come,” said director of rugby Aston.
“The game was being billed as a crucial game, for me it is as big as any game. All the teams down there need the points, and we wanted to build on what was a couple of really positive steps against London and Barrow at the Bash.
“Before the Summer Bash we looked at these next three games and we knew we needed points. It was good against Barrow but we wanted to keep winning, we wanted the teams above us to keep looking over their shoulders. Everyone is fighting for points and we have a tough but winnable game against Batley to come.”
Rochdale are now propping up the division, whilst Dewsbury’s latest defeat leaves them just one point in front of the Eagles.
Meanwhile, Iliess Macani has joined League One side London Skolars on a one-month loan deal. The former London Broncos winger has been on the periphery of Aston’s side for much of the season, making nine appearances. He was selected in the Skolars’ narrow home defeat to Hunslet on Saturday.
The Eagles’ dual-registration partners Hemel Stags won their first league game of the season after 11 straight defeats. Blake Broadbent was part of the squad that beat West Wales Raiders 48-12 as Jack Howieson’s side moved above their opponents in the League One standings.