STAND-OFF ANTHONY Thackeray played a starring role as Rovers returned to winning ways with a 47-22 victory over Sheffield Eagles at Belle Vue.
Thackeray scored a brace of tries, had a hand or foot in several others and added a drop goal in a much-improved team performance a week after Feathertone’s first defeat of the season. It took Rovers a while to shake Eagles off, but three tries in the final 13 minutes of the first half opened a 26-12 lead at the break.
The ‘hosts’ went ahead in the second minute when former Hull full-back Reece Dean making his debut on loan from Toronto Wolfpack, touched down from Dane Chisholm’s grubber.
Rovers responded with tries by Jason Walton and Andy Bostock, both improved by Michael Knowles, but Sheffield got on terms through a Duane Straugheir touchdown and Simon Brown’s second goal.
Walton pounced to score his second try when Menzie Yere’s dropped Thackeray’s kick, Knowles converting and then Ash Handley dived spectacularly over at the corner from Chris Ulugia’s pass. Two minutes before the break Garry Lo, Eagles’ Papua New Guinean winger, rampaged through the defence to cross between the posts, but the touchdown was ruled out for obstruction.
Rovers surged upfield from the penalty and Ulugia went over from Knowles’ pass, so rather than hanging on at 22-18 Featherstone were 14 points clear. Eagles cut the gap through a try by Elliot Minchella at the start of the first half and Brown’s conversion, but Kyle Briggs kicked a penalty and then added the extras after Thackeray raced over from a scrum close to Sheffield’s line.
Thackeray added a second, from his own kick, moments after Ian Hardman had landed a penalty.
Garry Lo pulled a try back for Eagles, but Thackeray knocked over a one-pointer and Luke Briscoe crossed at the corner for a try which was superbly converted off the touchline by Hardman to complete the scoring.
Sheffield Eagles: Dean, Lo, Yere, Johnson, Blackmore, Brown, Chisholm, Wheeldon, Fozard, Mexico, James, Straugheir, Minchella. Subs Trout, Scott, Cox, Hope.
Featherstone Rovers: Hardman, Briscoe, Walton, Ulugia, Handley, Thackeray, Wildie, Bostock, Carlile, Ormondroyd, Davies, Knowles, Lockwood. Subs Mariano, Moore, Griffin, Briggs.
Referee: Jonathan Roberts (Leeds).