Match Report: Toronto Wolfpack vs Hull FC

January 22, 2017 – Hull, UK

Toronto Wolfpack narrowly missed out on a victory over last season’s Challenge Cup winners in their first ever fixture. After months of planning and organising, the Wolfpack made history by taking to the field for the first time and made an extremely good account of themselves against quality opposition, eventually going down 26-20 in a game containing some really free flowing and skilful rugby league.

Paul Rowley’s men can be very pleased for their first run out as they scored four good tries and looked like a side that has played together for years. From the looks of it, they will only get better as the season progresses.

For the Wolfpack, it was all about finding out where they are as a team in preparation for their entry in the Kingstone Press League 1. Against quality opposition, they were extremely competitive throughout and unlucky not to get a result.

The Wolfpack started impressively and silenced the home crowd with the first score as stand-off Blake Wallace darted through a gap in the Hull defence for a try converted by skipper Craig Hall. Hull FC, playing largely a first-choice side for the first half, recorded three back-to-back scores through Albert Kelly, Jamie Shaul and Mahe Fonua, but Toronto kept fighting and worked their way down field patiently and were rewarded with a try to Fuifui Moimoi.

The former New Zealand international, who was impressive off the bench, scattered the Hull defence to get in under the posts to cut the gap to a converted try in the shadows of half-time, but Hull struck again just before the break as Fonua touched down on the right off a Kelly pass.

The Wolfpack started both halves extremely well and stunned Hull with two quick tries, one down both flanks to Jonny Pownall, who touched down brilliantly in the right corner, and Liam Kay to tie the game.
Hull had made a number of changes at the break and their youthful side turned the game into a real arm wrestle, where every mistake was crucial. Skipper Craig Hall was punished for his wayward offload as Hull went back in front through Nick Rawsthorne.

The final quarter was frantic, and Toronto had a golden opportunity to snatch a late draw, but unfortunately James Laithwaite’s final pass was intercepted and Hull held on for a slender win.

Head coach Paul Rowley was very happy with his side but insisted there was plenty of room for improvement: “We had 25 players making their debut today. It’s a pretty rare situation but it’s a great starting point for us.” he said.

“I think it’s a very positive day and the exciting bit is that we’ll get a lot better and a lot more confident moving forward. I think anyone who watched the game today will think we aren’t a bad side.

“We’re just disappointed we didn’t win the game. There are a lot of learning points for us. We just needed to take a few more chances but we challenged a Super League team so I’m very pleased.”

Brian Noble added, “An extremely encouraging result against a top 4 Super League side and Challenge Cup holders Hull FC. We showed we can compete with any side today. We played like a family, for each other, and for the city of Toronto.”

CEO Eric Perez said, “An incredible result from the lads, nobody would have guessed it was our first match, as we never looked out of contention. Our commitment to excellence was on display today, and we will surely improve as the season goes on. A fantastic start.”

Toronto Wolfpack

1 Quetin Togaga’e
2 Jonny Pownell
4 Craig Hall (C)
3 Greg Worthington
5 Liam Kay
6 Blake Wallace
7 Rhys Jacks
21 Adam Sidlow
9 Bob Beswick
19 Jake Emmitt
11 Andrew Dixon
13 James Laithwaite
29 Jack Bussey
Subs (all used)
10 Dan Fleming
15 Ryan Burroughs
16 Shaun Pick
18 Steve Crossley
13 Luke Menzies
20 Tom Dempsey
22 Reece Dean
8 Fuifui Moimoi

Tries: Wallace (12), Moimoi (29), Pownell (42), Kay (50)
Goals: Hall (2/4)

Hull FC

1 Jamie Shaul
2 Mahe Fonua
3 Carlos Tuimavave
4 Josh Griffin
5 Fetuli Talanoa
6 Albert Kelly
7 Marc Sneyd
15 Chris Green
11 Dean Hadley
10 Liam Watts
17 Danny Washbrook
32 Jordan Lane
16 Jordan Thompson
Subs (all used)
29 Masi Matongo
28 Brad Fash
19 Steve Michaels
25 Jansin Turgut
20 Curtis Naughton
23 Nick Rawsthorne
33 Connor Bower
36 Jack Wray
30 Jez Litten
34 Jack Sanderson
Marvin Lee
Josh Wood

Tries: Kelly (17), Shaul (21), Fonua (24, 34), Rawsthorne (60)
Goals: Sneyd (2/4), Naughton (1/1)

Written by Tom Alderson

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