13th April 2018, 16:10 | championship

Brown return sparks Sheffield's season

Brown return sparks Sheffield's season

By Dan Fowler

It has been an interesting few months for Sheffield Eagles half-back Simon Brown.

After leaving the club on the eve of the season, Brown and Eagles Director of Rugby, Mark Aston, settled their differences and the 28-year-old made a swift return to Sheffield, who had lost their opening five league matches.

Now, with two wins under their belt in the space of ten days, the Eagles are out of the Championship relegation zone.

The first of those victories came on home turf at the Olympic Legacy Park.

A 38-20 win over Rochdale Hornets kick-started Sheffield’s campaign and Brown played a major part.

With an eight-point lead and five minutes remaining, the half-back kicked a 40/20 which was capitalised on by Matty Fozard, who crossed the whitewash.

“It was fantastic to do it at home in front of our own fans, it did them justice,” said Brown.

“One of my assets is my kicking game and I try to use it as much as possible.

“As soon as I hit (the ball), I knew it was going (for a 40/20).

“It’s nice to put the team in a position where it can benefit everyone.

“The hard work other people are doing, Fozzy getting there for the quick tap and scoring, it’s just rewards that we deserved really.”

After the Hornets game, there was a quick turnaround and the Eagles were beaten 28-14 by Batley Bulldogs on Easter Monday, despite leading 10-4 at the interval.

Sheffield needed to respond and they had a perfect opportunity against basement club Swinton Lions.

Once again, Brown came up with the goods thanks to a 77th minute drop goal as Sheffield triumphed 19-18 at Heywood Road.

Although it wasn’t the cleanest effort, the ball had just enough height to go through the sticks.

“It wasn’t (the sweetest strike) but at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if you score a 100m try or a metre try, they all count,” he added.

“I had a few stern words with Burnsy (Greg Burns, Eagles hooker), to make sure he got me into a good position.

“As soon as I kicked it, I thought ‘please just go a bit higher!’ and luckily it did.”

In the past, Sheffield have been known as an expansive side who like to throw the ball around and entertain the crowd.

This weekend will be no exception as they welcome Leigh Centurions to the Legacy Park.

Kieron Purtill’s men are in fine form and Brown knows his side can play without pressure.

“We have no qualms this week, there’s no pressure and we can go out and express ourselves,” he said.

“At the end of the day, what will be will be.

“Leigh are a great side and they have got a good coach in Purtill.

“We have to worry about ourselves and if we are good enough, we are good enough and if not we will carry on working.”

“I’d like to think that (we have turned a corner).

“What I say to the boys is that we have got to look week on week and stay positive.

“If we play how we can for longer periods of time, we will be looking up rather than looking down.”

The last two weeks have raised spirits in the Sheffield camp.

And with an experienced head such as Brown in the squad, they are starting to right their early-season wrongs