James Woodburn-Hall raced through a gap in the Eagles defensive line before turning provider for Jacob Fairbank, who powered over from close range, and Louis Jouffret dummied his way over to give Fax a commanding lead going into half time with Jouffret’s flawless boot earning an 0-18 lead.
However, it was the Panthers who scored first after the break, Fairbank grabbing his second with Jouffret converting for a 12-24 lead. But that signalled pretty much the end of the Panthers scoring as the Eagles freshness and the cleverness of their ex Fax half back pairing of Cory Aston and Anthony Thackray came to the fore.
First, he powered his way over to score to bring the deficit back to four points at 20-24, but then his defensive effort in stopping Ben Crooks scoring what may well have been the game winning try proved vital. This was a hammer blow to a tiring Fax side and the momentum shift the Eagles were craving as another piece of inevitability came in the shape of Brandon Douglas.
The powerful prop forward is widely reported to have re-signed for his hometown club and the team he spent 2017 on loan with but this didn’t stop him scoring under the posts for his current Eagles side to put them into the lead for the first time thanks to Aston’s conversion.
Aston was converting another score just a minute later as the Panthers efforts to reclaim the ball from a short kick off were dashed by Ben Jones-Bishop, who caught the ball and raced away to score and put the game beyond Fax at 32-24.
Laulu-Togagae, Jones-Bishop, Glover, Oakes, Dawson-Jones, Aston, Thackeray, Kirk, Hansen, Wood, Sene-Lefao, Bower, Hodgson
Subs: Gwaze, Douglas, Chrimes, Broadbent
Tries: Dawson-Jones (34,39), Hansen (49), Aston (61), Douglas (74), Jones-Bishop (77)
Goals: Aston 4/6
Sin Bin: Kirk (72)
Pickersgill, Walmsley, Maizen, Crooks, McComb, Jouffret, Woodburn-Hall, Calcott, O’Brien, Murray, Kavanagh, Gee, Fairbank
Subs: Moore, Tangata, Lannon, Fleming
Tries: Woodburn-Hall (2), Fairbank (13,46), Jouffret (30), Lannon (79)
Goals: Jouffret 5/5
Sin Bin: Calcott (72)