Sheffield Eagles Match Preview

Sheffield Eagles Match Preview

1st August 2019

Widnes Vikings head to the Olympic Legacy Park on Friday evening (7:45pm kick-off), as they take on Sheffield Eagles in Round 23 of the Betfred Championship season.

It will be a dress rehearsal of the 1895 Cup Final after both sides booked their place at Wembley on Sunday.

Ahead of the Vikings’ trip to take on the Eagles, we have compiled all of the stats, key information and team news with our in-depth match preview.

Squad news

Kieron Purtill has made four changes to the squad he named to take on Leigh Centurions, as Anthony Gelling, Chris Dean and Hep Cahill drop out through injury, while Patrick Ah Van has come to the end of his four-week deal.

Olly Ashall-Bott, Ellis Robson, Owen Farnworth and Sam Freeman come in to freshen up the line-up ahead of a short turnaround.

Widnes Vikings 19-man squad: Olly Ashall-Bott, Keanan Brand, Jay Chapelhow, Ted Chapelhow, Danny Craven, Owen Farnworth, Sam Freeman, Josh Ganson, Harrison Hansen, Ryan Ince, Jordan Johnstone, MacGraff Leuluai, Joe Lyons, Dan Norman, Jack Owens, Ellis Robson, Lloyd Roby, Brad Walker, Sam Wilde.

Mark Ashton has also made four changes to his squad, as Sonny Esslemont, Brad Tagg, James Thornton and Menzie Yere all come in to replace James Davey, Brad Knowles, Ben Hellewell and Nathan Mason.

Sheffield Eagles 19-man squad: Ben Blackmore, Blake Broadbent, Aaron Brown, Greg Burns, Paddy Burns, Oliver Davies, Rory Dixon, Sonny Esslemont, Joel Farrell, Josh Guzdek, Corey Makelim, Ryan Millar, Jacob Ogden, Shaun Pick, Brad Tagg, Anthony Thackeray, James Thornton, Pat Walker, Menzie Yere.

Form Guide

The Vikings head into this fixture following a heroic performance at the Leigh Sports Village, as they defied the odds to advance to the 1895 Cup Final.

Leigh Centurions were huge favourites heading into the semi-final, however Widnes dug deep to produce their best performance of the season and booked their place at Wembley with a 12-8 victory.

It was a fiery encounter, which saw Jordan Johnstone and Mitch Clark sin binned just two minutes in, with the scores locked at 2-2 at the break, as Ryan Brierley and Jack Owens kicked a penalty each.

Brierley added a further two points after the break, before the Vikings produced two contenders for try of the season to take a commanding lead, firstly through Anthony Gelling before Owens raced in to send the travelling fans into incredible scenes of celebration.

Adam Higson clawed a four-pointer back to set up a tense finish, although the Widnes defence stood tall before the away end erupted at the sound of the full-time hooter.

Sheffield also booked their place in the final of the 1895 Cup, battling past Batley Bulldogs in an 18-2 victory over their Yorkshire rivals.

The Eagles took a 6-2 lead into the break after Joel Farrell opened the scoring, with Louis Jouffret kicking a penalty goal for Batley.

The conditions played havoc with the quality of the encounter, as both sides struggled to deal with the torrential downpour.

Jacob Ogden extended the Eagles lead in the second half before Oliver Davies crashed over in the final minute to secure their progression to the final of the competition.

Last Time Out

Back in May, the Vikings took the spoils in a dominant display at the Halton Stadium, defeating Sheffield 36-6 in their rearranged Round 4 fixture.

The originally scheduled clash was postponed due to Widnes entering administration, and was eventually played during a jam packed period for both clubs, due to their involvement in the 1895 Cup.

Purtill’s side raced into a commanding lead that proved too much for the visitors to claw back, as first-half tries from Hep Cahill, Jayden Hatton, Jack Owens, Chris Dean and Ryan Ince made it 26-0 at the break.

A Keanan Brand brace prior to the half hour mark wrapped up the two points for the Vikings, as Ben Blackmore grabbed a consolation effort to complete the scoring, with Widnes picking up a comfortable 36-6 victory.

One to Watch

Anthony Thackeray – The former Widnes halfback has been pulling the strings for the Eagles all season, and is a key reason why they’re well clear of the relegation zone and heading to Wembley for the 1895 Cup Final.


Full ticket information regarding the Vikings’ trip to Sheffield Eagles on Friday evening can be found by clicking HERE.

Sheffield Eagles Match Preview