Halifax Panthers 38 Sheffield Eagles 14: Panthers notch sixth straight win after fiery encounter

James Saltonstall was among the try scorers in Halifax Panthers' 38-14 Betfred Championship win over Sheffield Eagles. Picture: Ed Sykes/SWpix.com.James Saltonstall was among the try scorers in Halifax Panthers' 38-14 Betfred Championship win over Sheffield Eagles. Picture: Ed Sykes/SWpix.com.
James Saltonstall was among the try scorers in Halifax Panthers' 38-14 Betfred Championship win over Sheffield Eagles. Picture: Ed Sykes/SWpix.com.
Halifax Panthers extended their winning run to six straight games following a fiery encounter with the Sheffield Eagles.

Simon Grix’s men won 38-14 as Ben Tibbs scored a sensational hat-trick in what proved to be a hotly-contested match.

Both teams came together on a number of occasions as Sheffield’s frustrations boiled over and led to three yellow cards - both for Izaac Farrell.

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The visitors got off to promising start but, despite enjoying back-to-back goal-line drop outs, the Eagles failed to land anything on the scoreboard.

Instead, it was the hosts who scored first as Tibbs capitalised on Sheffield’s first big error of the match. A loose pass from the Eagles was scooped up swiftly by James Saltonstall who launched a quick counter.

The ball was then worked out wide to Tibbs and the centre powered over the whitewash.

Getting on the scoreboard appeared to give the Panthers a spring in their step, and it wasn’t long before the hosts turned their momentum into more points.

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Just five minutes on from the opener, James Woodburn-Hall crashed over following some high-quality build-up play from Louis Jouffret and Joe Keyes.

Sheffield were clearly irked by the game’s trajectory and, with 25 minutes on the clock, those frustrations spilled out onto the field.

With Halifax parked on the Eagles’ tryline, a confrontation between Matt Garside and Farrell turned quickly into a brawl between both sets of players.

Izaac wasn’t the only one who seemed to be infuriated by Garside, as brother Joel bumped the Halifax man just a couple of minutes earlier.

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Both Garside and Izaac Farrell were sent to the sin-bin as Keyes knocked over a penalty to extend Fax’s advantage.

Moments later, it was Anthony Thackery who appeared incensed after a fluffed pass in his own half gifted the Panthers possession. A penalty followed and it proved costly as Tibbs exploited a gap in the Eagles’ defence before crossing for his second try of the match.

Sheffield needed to avoid further damage before a much-needed half-time break, but that’s not what they got as Lachlan Walmsley crashed over in the corner to give his side a 24-point lead.

The visitors were determined to cut the deficit after the restart but, just as Jason Bass looked certain to score, a last-ditch tackle from Woodburn-Hall caused yet more frustrations for the visitors.

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If that wasn’t enough, Saltonstall crashed in the corner just moments later to make it 28-0.

Despite this, Sheffield refused to throw in the towel and their attitude soon reaped rewards as back-

to-back efforts for Ben Jones-Bishop and Kris Welham made it 28-10.

Brandon Moore’s converted effort stopped the rot for Halifax, but the Eagles showed resilience as, just minutes later, Ryan Johnson stamped his name on the scoresheet.

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Just as Sheffield made one step forward, another Halifax effort thwarted their comeback hopes. On this occasion, it was Tibbs who completed his hat-trick with a try in the corner.

With a minute to go, tempers flared again as the two teams came together on two separate occasions.

A second sin bin for Isaac Farrell followed as a fiery encounter came to a fascinating conclusion.

Halifax Panthers: James Woodburn-Hall, Lachlan Walmsley, Ben Tibbs, Joe Arundel, James

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Saltonstall, Louis Jouffret, Joe Keyes, Will Calcott, Brandon Moore, Dan Murray, Ed Barber, Matt

Garside, Adam Tangata. Subs: Kyle Wood, Titus Gwaze, Kevin Larroyer, Zack McComb.

Halifax tries: Tibbs (11, 32, 73), Woodburn-Hall (16), Walmsley (37), Saltonstall (47), Moore (64).

Halifax goals: Keyes 5/8.

Sheffield Eagles: Quentin Laula Togagae, Ben Bishop-Jones, Kristian Welham, Ryan Johnson, Jason

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Bass, Izaac Farrell, Anthony Thackery, Brandon Douglas, Vila Halafihi, Michael Wood, Ross Oakes,

Joel Farrell, Evan Hodgson. Subs: Josh Guzdek, Blake Broadbent, Thomas Holmes, Kadeein Williams.

Sheffield tries: Jones-Bishop (57), Welham (61), Johnson (70).

Sheffield goals: I Farrell 1/3.

Match official: Aaron Moore.

Attendance: 1,476.

Half-time: Halifax Panthers 24-0 Sheffield Eagles.

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