IT was a dominant display from the Sheffield Eagles as they racked up their fourth consecutive win against a Whitehaven side who struggled to cope with the loss of Guy Graham in just the 18th minute.

The damage was done by the time the Eagles themselves went down to 12 men following Joel Farrell’s dismissal for punching ahead of both sides welcoming Super League opposition next weekend.

Whitehaven had the better start as a penalty marched them up the field in their opening set, a second penalty in the opening minutes gave Whitehaven an opportunity to take two points which they duly did through Connor Holliday, the feeling of a tight encounter on show in the early going.

From the resulting set Ryan King touched down following an Alex Bishop grubber towards the corner. Holliday couldn’t convert his second and what turned out to be his final opportunity of the afternoon. That was as good as it got for the home side as Quentin Laulu-Tog’age on his second debut for the Eagles after joining on a month’s loan from the Keighley Cougars. The mercurial veteran full back showed his footwork to go over for a four-pointer in which Tom Holmes (an early HIA replacement for Isaac Farrell who never returned) converted to level the scores.

Then came the game-changing moment, Graham’s dismissal. Sheffield had recovered from their slow start and now looked in command. Graham found himself tackling Joel Farrell and Farrell was taken over the horizontal and looked to have landed on his shoulder area.

A penalty was given and after advice from his touch judge referee Michael Smaill reached into his back pocket for his red card and sent a stunned Graham off, much to the dismay of many of the 1,200-plus fans in attendance.

From the resulting and six again Sheffield powered over through Joel Farrell with Holmes converting to take the lead which was never surrendered.

Whitehaven continued to challenge and had majority of the territory and possession before the break but when the visitors came close to the Cumbrians’ line they took advantage and extended their lead.

An acrobatic finish from Ben Jones-Bishop following a looping Anthony Thackray pass utilised the overlap against the home side but Tom Holmes couldn’t convert from the touchline just before half time.

The second half belonged to the visitors who even after being reduced to 12 men themselves scored five tries without reply.

The first came from Kris Welham following an Eagles scrum caused by a Whitehaven intercept not being successful close to their own line. Welham got the ball and was too powerful to be stopped from short range.

Holmes converted and that try seemed to be the one that knocked the stuffing out of Whitehaven, with Haven head coach Jonty Gorley commenting post match that his side “stuck in their shells following the sending off”.

Back-to-back tries from Matty Chrimes and a second for Laulu-Tog’age secured the two points before the hour mark with Holmes converting both before the Eagles were themselves reduced to 12 men with Joel Farrell being sent from the field for a punch on Whitehaven’s Andrew Bulman.

The home side huffed and puffed following that but couldn’t break the visiting defence.

The final scores came from tiring defence from Haven with Anthony Thackray skipping through the Haven defence and Matty Chrimes going 60 metres untouched following an intercept as Haven looked for a consolation score just before the hooter. Holmes converted all but the last of them.


1 Geronimo Doyle, 2 Dave Eccleston, 4 Will Evans, 6 Karl Dixon, 5 Andrew Bulman, 23 Alex Bishop, 7 Nikau Williams, 21 Kieran Hudson, 9 Callum Phillips, 18 Guy Graham, 11 Ryan King, 15 Connor Holliday, 16 Tom Wilkinson. Subs: 13 Dion Aiye, 17 Andrew Dawson, 20 Jake Bradley, 28 Karl Olstrom.

Tries: King (4).

Goals: Holliday 1/2.

Red Card: Guy Graham (18) – Dangerous Tackle.


27 Quentin Laulu-Tog’age, 2 Ben Jones-Bishop, 19 Kris Welham, 4 Ross Oakes, 22 Matty Chrimes, 6 Isaac Farrell, 7 Anthony Thackeray, 15 Mikey Wood, 14 Vila Halafihi, 10 Tyler Dickinson, 3 Connor Bower, 12 Joel Farrell, 17 Liam Kirk. Subs: 16 Blake Broadbent, 18 Martyn Reilly, 23 Bayley Liu, 28 Tom Holmes.

Tries: Laulu-Tog’age 2 (11,56), J.Farrell (20), Jones-Bishop (37), Welham (42), Chrimes 2 (54,79), Thackray (74).

Goals: Holmes 6/8.

Red Card: Joel Farrell (64) - Punching.

Penalty count: 11-6

Half-time: 6-16

Referee: Michael Smaill

Attendance: 1,239.