The Lions host Sheffield Eagles in Round 10 of the Betfred Championship.
Swinton Lions welcome Sheffield Eagles to Heywood Road in Round 10 of the Betfred Championship.
The Lions earned their first point of the season last weekend away to Barrow Raiders, although will feel they deserved more after a late controversial Jamie Dallimore penalty tied the game.
With big games against Toulouse Olympique and Toronto Wolfpack following a trip to Halifax next weekend, Stuart Littler’s side will eye up Sunday’s clash as chance to secure their first win of the season and leapfrog the Eagles and Rochdale Hornets, if the latter fail to get a result at Leigh Centurions.
Sheffield Eagles suffered a similarly poor start to the Championship campaign, remaining winless until Round 8 where Mark Aston’s side confidently beat fellow strugglers Rochdale Hornets to move them off the bottom of the table. Last week saw Batley Bulldogs put five tries past the competition’s second leakiest defence.
The game will kick-off at a later time due to several roads in Sale being closed for the Manchester Marathon. Found out more information here.
LAST TIME OUT
Swinton Lions 30-32 Sheffield Eagles
Sheffield Eagles kept on the winning track but were made to fight all the way by the Lions who fought right to the final hooter. Eagles coach Mark Aston described the Lions as the better side on the day, asking many questions of his team’s defence but they just had it in them to make it four wins from four against Swinton this season.
Ilias Bergal but the Lions ahead just ninety seconds into the game when he scored on his debut, finishing off a nice passing movement on the left and Chris Hankinson converted but Eagles hit back when Ben Blackmore finished off a move in the right corner. Jack Owens was wayward with the conversion. The Lions then had a spell of pressure on the Eagles line but could not break the defence and it was Mark Astons team who then ran in two tries in a three minute period. Mark Minchella and Paddy Flynn the scorers as Owens converted one of them.
The Lions hit back just before the half hour mark when a reverse pass from Ben White found Jack Murphy in support and he scored by the posts for Hankinson to convert. However Menzie Yere quickly responded to sythe through the Lions defence and score by the posts with Owens on target again. The home side would not go away and on the stroke of half time Rob Lever crashed over by the posts for his first try of the season and again this was converted.
Lever added his second just after the restart after some great build up by Hankinson and Anthony Nicholson and the conversion sailed between the posts to put the Lions ahead. Minchella added his second on fifty-three minutes to put Eagles back ahead and this too was converted.
As per the first half the Lions again had a spell of pressure on the Eagles line but again could not get through it and with ten minutes left Blackmore intercepted a Lions pass to race away and score with Owens landing a super conversion from the touchline.
The Lions threw everything they had at the Eagles line in the dying minutes and Luke Waterworth was held up before White forced his way over by the posts with four minutes left and Hankinson converted to put the Lions within two. In the final play of the match the Lions were award a penalty on half way and they elected to kick for touch before taking the final play but the kick failed to reach touch and the Eagles caught the ball to take the tackle as the hooter sounded.
Ian Rigg reporting from Heywood Road, 13/08/17
Lions TV’s Colin James spoke to Stuart Littler following Sunday’s draw against Barrow Raiders.
“We were two points up with not long to go and had done all the hard work to get ourselves in front. I thought we showed a real desire and commitment and will to win to get those two points. We had a lot of adversity thrown at us over the weekend. People in and out of squads, pulling out though injury and I thought we dealt with that well.
“We probably weren’t smart enough to finish the game off. I think it came from the missed tackle not the actual penalty, down their end which gave them the impetus to get forward and get that penalty to equalise. Fair play to Dallimore, he didn’t miss a kick all day.
“It is disappointing but on the flip side not many teams have come here so far and got anything. It is one point more than we had, we wanted the two. The fight goes on and we’ve got a massive game against Sheffield Eagles. We have to kick on and catch that pack above us. We’ve got a bit of a run now where we can start aiming up. We’re getting there, week by week. We’ve just got to stay consistently at that level now.”
George Tyson has suffered an ankle injury meaning he is unavailable for selection. Matt Sarsfield and Gabe Fell also miss out with minor knee injuries. Mike Butt wasn’t deemed match fit to make the squad.
Liam Forsyth, Craig Mullen and Callum Field join up to Stuart Littler’s side on dual-registration from Wigan Warriors.
LIONS SQUAD TO FACE EAGLES: Ben Austin, Gavin Bennion, Andy Bracek, Callum Field, Liam Forstyth, Aaron Hall, Chris Hankinson, Hayden Hansen, Jack Hansen, Will Hope, Rhodri Lloyd, Craig Mullen, Mark Nicholson, Kyle Shelford, Andy Thornley, Luke Waterworth, Marcus Webb, Josh Woods, Chris Worrall.
EAGLES SQUAD TO FACE LIONS: TBC
REFEREE: J Mcmullen TOUCH JUDGES: D. Sharpe, C. Smith
VENUE: Heywood Road, Sale, M33 3WB
TICKETS: Adults – £18, Concessions – £13, Juniors – £2, Manchester United and Manchester City season ticket holders – £10