Halifax kept their Qualifiers bid alive with an emphatic 54-0 victory over Sheffield Eagles at Beaumont Legal Stadium. The West Yorkshire club dominated from start to finish while the Eagles were woeful, with a shocking completion rate as well as some weak defending. Conor McGrath notched a hat-trick for the visitors while Mitch Cahalane was the best forward on the field for the blue and whites, who will go into next week with great confidence.
A sign of the Eagles’ poor defending on the fringes came with the first try of the game as James Woodburn-Hall stepped inside Menzie Yere to touch down. Steve Tyrer couldn’t convert but he made amends with a six-pointer in the 13th minute as the centre got on the end of a grubber. Woodburn-Hall soon doubled his try tally as Richard Marshall’s men started to put their foot on the gas. McGrath was next over for Fax after Garry Lo was stripped of the ball in a one-on-one tackle. Tyrer added the extras for 20-0 after 28 minutes but there was still two more tries to come before the interval as Halifax put the game to bed. Ben Johnston got on the end of a silky move to extend the lead before Tyrer’s conversion. McGrath completed his brace with five minutes remaining, Tyrer yet again kicking the goal for a 32-0 advantage after the first period.
In the second half, dual-registered forward Matt Wilkinson found a large gap in the Sheffield defence and he exploited it to perfection by touching down. Tyrer goaled. Halifax notched two more tries in the final quarter of the match as they passed the 50 point mark to the delight of their fans. Elliot Morris muscled his way to four points as he jinked out of a tackle underneath the sticks. The final score of the contest came courtesy of McGrath, who scored his third try of the game to bring up his first professional hat-trick. Lo failed to intercept and the ball fell nicely for the winger, who had an easy finish.