Sheffield Eagles duo handed four-match bans for punching

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Joel Farrell Sheffield Eagles SWpix Credit: PA Images
Joel Farrell Sheffield Eagles SWpix Credit: PA Images

Sheffield Eagles duo Joel Farrell and Mikey Wood have both been suspended for four games after being found guilty of punching in their defeat at Halifax.

The forward pair will both serve a four-match suspension. They were found guilty of punching in their 38-14 defeat at Halifax on May 15.

Jamaica international Farrell was found guilty of a Grade D charge. He was also fined £250 in addition to the four-match suspension.

Former Huddersfield player Wood successfully challenged the grading of a Grade F punching charge. He received the same punishment as Farrell – a £250 fine and a four-match ban – after being found guilty of Grade D punching.

Farrell and Wood will be available to play in Sheffield’s next game against York on June 2. The duo will be banned for their games against Newcastle, Bradford, Leigh and London Broncos though.

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Sheffield Eagles flourish on their big return to the city

Sheffield Eagles first game back Olympic Legacy Park Stadium Credit: PA Images
Sheffield Eagles first game back Olympic Legacy Park Stadium

It could hardly have gone better for Sheffield Eagles as they opened their new-look Olympic Legacy Park stadium with a commanding win over Widnes.

Despite trailing 12-0 inside the first 10 minutes in front of the limited capacity sell-out of 700, the Eagles roared back to lead with 34 unanswered points before Widnes added two late tries.

The night was the latest stop on the Sheffield rugby league rollercoaster that dates back 40 years.

It was perhaps fitting that their opponents were the side that they beat at Wembley to win the 1895 Cup final in 2019; little over 20 years since the most famous of Wembley wins, when Sheffield beat the mighty Wigan in the Challenge Cup final.

There was a buzz about the place that belied the attendance figure.

A large number of the fans took up their seats in the newly constructed main stand; which generated a decent atmosphere looking out to the open three sides of the ground.

There are plans to add terracing to at least one end and the opposite side, though the timescales for that remain unclear.

It wasn’t the finished article. The large indoor room at the top of the sand was incomplete, some of the surroundings represented an unfinished building site and the roof on one side wasn’t fully completed, amongst other things; but the signs of progress are there for the Eagles.

You could sense the excitement from fans, volunteers and former players in attendance, including Challenge Cup final winning captain Paul Broadbent, who delivered the match ball to the referee ahead of kick-off.

A mammoth journey

The big boost is that it gives them roots in the city.

It marks a long and arduous journey for the club and Mark Aston, the Eagles’ most famous son, who co-founded the new club after the controversial merger with Huddersfield in the late 1990s.

Aston was of course Lance Todd Trophy winner at Wembley in 1998 and has held a range of roles at the club, from player and coach, to CEO and director of rugby.

After the game, Aston told Premier Sports: “It was the result I was hoping for. We probably got a bit emotional first seven minutes. We were all over the place, but I was delighted with character we showed just after that.

“There’s been some dark days”

“What a great night. There’s been some dark days. You wake up one morning and think its done, we’re over as a club.

“The resilience of not only myself, the board of directors who’ve stuck in there. The journey’s been a mammoth journey, we’ve been everywhere and anywhere, and now we’re back.

“Now we can start re-building, this is all about the fans. The fans are the club. You’ve got to appreciate what they’ve had the last nine years, scratching around for places to play.

“You can see what it means to them tonight and they’ve turned up. The capacity will get upped and if we start playing rugby like that.

“I feel the atmosphere there tonight we’ve never had in Sheffield before. It’s all about atmosphere and the collision and what people feel. The fans will walk away and say wow this is rugby league.”

Sheffield are well-placed in the Championship, with six wins from 11.

Only three of those games have been home games, all wins; albeit two were played on the road due to the delays with the new stadium completion.

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