Eagles suffer a serious thrashing

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The Independent Online
The Sheffield Eagles coach, John Kear, could not hide his despair after his side's 58-12 thrashing yesterday away to Hunter Mariners in the World Club Championship.

"I'm devastated," Kear said, shaking his head in disbelief. "We didn't do ourselves justice. Our performance was disastrous - there are so many negatives to take in. We just kept turning the ball over and you can't do that against Australian sides."

The huge defeat in Newcastle, New South Wales, follows the Eagles' 48- 2 thrashing at the hands of Perth Reds a fortnight ago and a 50-8 caning by the London Broncos on the eve of their trip to the southern hemisphere.

"The lads are down in the dumps altogether," admitted Kear. "We'll just have to get on the plane, get home, see our families and get together later in the week to decide where we've gone wrong."

Sheffield scored two tries through Darren Turner and Jean-Marc Garcia, and Kear said that Turner was one of the few Eagles players to emerge from the match will any credit. "He played with real heart and desire. He was a plus for us today," he said.

The Mariners centre, Kevin Iro, faces a return to Central Park after victory set up a quarter-final against his old club, Wigan, in four weeks' time. Their coach, Graham Murray, revealed they intend to make the most of his inside knowledge of Wigan. "The players are already asking Kevin Iro what it's like to play at Central Park," Murray said. "We're all looking forward to it."

Meanwhile, Warrington's captain, Paul Sculthorpe, claimed his side had emerged with their pride intact from their 16-4 defeat to Auckland Warriors in Christchurch.

The Warriors had amassed 134 points in their last two matches, so Sculthorpe was pleased his side managed to restrict them to just 16. "We came to New Zealand looking for a win, but the way Auckland have been playing and, because so many of our players were carrying injuries, we knew we would be up against it. So we're pretty pleased with the final score," he said.

"The lads played with a lot of pride, and we can fly back to England with our heads held high. A lot of positives have come out of this trip."

Icy winds and driving rain made playing conditions atrocious, but the Warriors managed to record their first victory in the southern city, which is the home of their coach, Frank Endacott.

Warrington have probably done enough to earn a play-off place in the quarter-finals. St Helens need to lose by less than 10 points against Penrith Panthers today to pip Warrington - and that will be no easy task against a team who themselves need a big win to book their last-eight place.