Fax bow out as Eagles book final place

Halifax celebrate Ryan Fieldhouse's early try
Halifax celebrate Ryan Fieldhouse's early try

Halifax ended 2013 as they ended 2012, with a home loss to Sheffield as the Eagles booked their place in the Championship Grand Final with a 29-10 triumph at the Shay.

Fax, play off victors at the Don Valley Stadium a fortnight ago, were the better side for significant spells of a contest that was never less than compelling.

But in the end a problem that has dogged on and off all year, the inability to conjure points when the chips are really down against the best teams, came back to haunt them.

The Eagles never had that issue, largely thanks to the brilliant Samoan full back Quentin Laulu-Togagae, who scored one try, assisted with another and generally looked like he was going to cut the defence to ribbons every time he touched the ball.

Fax led 6-0 early on through a Ryan Fieldhouse try, converted by Steve Tyrer, but the game turned on its head when Eagles stand off Pat Walker and Laulu-Togagae grabbed back to back touchdowns midway through the half.

With Dominic Brambani converting both, Fax’s only reward for their early dominance was a 12-6 deficit.

The Eagles went on to dominate the rest of the half, piling on the pressure and finally cracking a resolute Fax defence two minutes before the break when Laulu-Togagae and Tom Armstrong slipped Misi Taulapapa over in the corner.

Brambani missed the kick, but at 16-6 Fax had a job to do.

They did it well early in the second half, rolling forward and scoring their second try through Tyrer, who claimed Scott Murrell’s cross kick.

The centre missed the conversion, but at 16-10 the home side were back in the game.

But try as they might, they could not crack the Eagles defence, with Walker’s late drop goal making their task that much more difficult at 17-10.

Late tries from Scott Turner and Walker merely confirmed the inevitable.

Halifax: Fieldhouse; Reittie, Tyrer, Heaton, Sheriffe; Murrell, Handforth; Tonks, Ashall, Davies, Manning,

Divorty, Adamson. Subs: Ambler, Bracek, Robinson, Holden

Sheffield: Laulu-Togagae; Taulapapa, Yere, Armstrong, Turner; Walker, Brambani; Battye, Henderson, Stringer, Knowles, Szostak, Hirst. Subs: Davey, Green, Straugheir, Higgins

Referee: Matt Thomason