Eagles sore in Perth

Perth 48 Sheffield Eagles 12
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The Independent Online
When Sheffield's full-back Waisale Sovatabua knocked on in goal two minutes into their match in Perth, the Eagles should have taken that as a sign it was not going to be their night, then fast-tracked it back to their hotel - locking the door. The World Club Championship is hard enough Down Under for any visiting team, and last night, with possession hard to win and even harder to keep, Sheffield were never in the hunt against the side they had given a 20-point headstart to and come back to beat 26-22 at the Don Valley Stadium on 15 June.

The drop-out from Sovatabua's fumble resulted in the Perth second-rower Wayne Evans scoring the first try, with Shaun Devine, in his first game of the season, converting. Devine repeated the effort six minutes later after Darren Higgins crossed.

The Eagles hit back in the 12th minute when the Kiwi import Whetu Taewa went over from close range and Mark Aston converted. Perth hit back, with Chris Ryan on the end of some desperate passing on the final tackle. Devine then threw out a well-timed pass for Matthew Rodwell to score.

Perth began the second half in the same fashion when Matt Geyer raced 30 metres from a scrum move in the fourth minute, with Devine again adding the points. Sheffield's sorry tale was illustrated by Sovatabua's failure to collect an easy pass on his own try-line. The ball went through his hands and into the waiting arms of Devine, who had no trouble scoring.

Although the Eagles scored again through the substitute Linton Scott, the Reds kept the tries coming, none better than that of Fred Sapatu, who sidestepped the defence after the ball had travelled through seven pairs of hands. It was Perth's biggest winning margin in any match.

Perth: Geyer, Brady-Smith, Fleming, Ryan, Wilshere, Devine, Rodwell, Kearns, Fuller, Green, Evans, Higgins, Millar. Substitutes: Horan, Sapatu, Shiels, Ridding.

Sheffield: Sovatabua, Pinkney, Taewa, Senior, Garcia, Wood, Aston, Doyle, McAllister, Carr, Laughton, Lawless, Broadbent. Substitutes: Stott, Turner, Wright, Vassilakopoulos.

Referee: S Clarke.