Sheffield Eagles v Rochdale Hornets
Friday 30th March 2018, 15:00pm
Championship - Round: 8
Stats over last 8 encounters
HORNETS TRAVEL TO SHEFFIELD FOR EAGLES CLASH
Sheffield head into this game off the back of a sixth straight league defeat, as points difference is the only thing keeping them off the bottom of the table. They threw away an 18-0 lead over Barrow Raiders to capitulate in the second-half, losing out 36-22. Gary Lo scored a brace, with Matty Fozard and Ben Blackmore also scoring in the defeat.
Rochdale were also beaten last time out, however they will draw plenty of positives from their 18-17 defeat to competition favourites Toronto Wolfpack. Thanks to a controversial penalty, Ryan Brierley saved the Canadian outfit’s blushes as they were outclassed for large periods. Earl Hurst, Gary Middlehurst and Rob Massam scored in the loss, with Lewis Palfrey kicking two goals and Morgan Smith knocking over a drop-goal.
Last season saw the Eagles pick up three wins over the Hornets, as they continued a long run of victories in this fixture that stretches over a decade. In the first meeting of 2017, a Gary Lo hat-trick inspired Sheffield to a 42-18 victory at the Crown Oil Arena, with Josh Crowley, Samir Tahraoui and Lewis Galbraith on the scoresheet for the losing side.
In the return fixture Lo blew Rochdale away once again as he crossed for five tries, with Rob Massam picking up a double and Jono Smith also scoring in a 38-14 defeat.
The final meeting of the sides saw Hornets cruelly denied a victory, as they matched their opponents throughout before a late Menzie Yere score condemned them to a 26-22 defeat. It was made even more painful due to Miles Greenwood having a try controversially chalked off, as he burrowed his way over from dummy half only to be denied by the referee. Kevin Penny, Matty Hadden and Jack Holmes did get on the score board though.
Despite the result it proved to be a day of celebration for Hornets, as results elsewhere meant that their Championship status had been secured for at least another season.
ONES TO WATCH
Matty Fozard has secured his place as a fan favourite with a string of impressive performances, as the hooker is solid in defence and smart in attack. Garry Lo enjoyed success against the Hornets last year, with nine tries in three games, and the Castleford Tigers winger has been included on dual-registration. Fullback Ryan Millar is also a good returner of the ball and will look to get the Eagles on the front foot early on.
Rob Massam scored two tries in two appearances against the Eagles last season, missing the final meeting of the two clubs due to injury. He goes into this game with an impressive scoring streak, having crossed four times in his last three games.
Castleford Tigers winger Garry Lo has been named in the Eagles squad, despite most Super League clubs calling back their loan players over Easter - while St Helens backrower James Bentley has also been included in an 18-man squad, rather than the traditional 19.
Eagles 18 man-squad: Ryan Millar, Joshua Toole, Oscar Thomas, Mark Offerdahl, Matty Fozard, Jon Magrin, Nabil Djalout, Shaun Pick, Matt James, Greg Burns, Oliver Davies, Daniel Igbinedion, Max Garcia, Blake Broadbent, Garry Lo, James Bentley, Simon Brown, Matty Costello
Alan Kilshaw has made just one change to the side who pushed Toronto all the way, as Morgan Smith returns to parent club Warrington Wolves and is replaced by Richard Lepori, who is available after serving a one-match suspension.
Hornets 19 man-squad: Dec Kay, Richard Lepori, Earl Hurst, Billy Brickhill, Rob Massam, Lewis Palfrey, Danny Yates, Joe Taira, Ben Moores, Lee Mitchell, Dave Allen, Gary Middlehurst, Luke Adamson, Toby Adamson, Lewis Hatton, Dec Gregory, Pat Moran, Seta Tala, Deon Cross.