Match Report: Toronto Wolfpack v Oxford RLFC

Written by Simon Davies

A solid twelve try performance ensured that Toronto Wolfpack emerged victorious in their historic first home fixture but a spirited effort from Oxford and a flurry of disciplinary issues in the final stages ensured that an encouraging crowd of 6281 left with plenty to talk about.

Toronto were on the board as early as the third minute when standoff Blake Wallace evaded a tackle and powered in from 20 metres out. Oxford responded by recovering a short kick-off and were close to registering their first try when lively forward Casey Canterbury was brought down just short on the last tackle.

The Wolfpack’s Dan Fleming came close to extending the lead on two separate occasions, but finally in the tenth minute second row Andrew Dixon took a short pass on the left side and broke through to score Toronto’s second for a 12-0 lead after Craig Hall’s conversion. In the fifteenth minute Hall showed his handling skill with a looping pass over the Oxford defence which was taken by Johnny Pownall to score in the corner. Wallace then put Richard Whiting in for the fourth Wolfpack try and Ryan Brierley barrelled through the middle on a 25 metre run for the fifth. When Whiting scored his second, again assisted by Wallace, Toronto were 34-0 up after only 27 minutes.

Determined to stem the tide Oxford’s Callum Windley fed Canterbury for the visitors’ number 9 to score close to the posts allowing Burnett to convert and bring the score back to 34-6 on the half hour. But Toronto had the final say for the first half with Dixon catching a goal line dropout and returning the ball 30 metres for a fine individual try, although Jordan Gill came agonizingly close to pulling another try back for Oxford just before the hooter only for Whiting to intervene.

With the hosts leading 40-6 at the interval, the first hints of ill-discipline surfaced three minutes into the second half with Liam Kay sinbinned for punching following an Oxford infringement. Undeterred by being a man down the Wolfpack added eight points in the following 10 minutes as Craig Hall went in at the corner for a 46th minute try and then assisted Greg Worthington with another spectacular pass on 51 minutes to take the score to 48-6. Sean Penkywicz then found Brierley in the middle of the park with the recent signing from Huddersfield Giants galloping 40 metres for the pick of the day’s tries. Johnny Pownall then scored his second powering down the right wing after further good work from Brierley and Hall.

As the final ten minutes approached, the sinbinning of Jacob Emmitt led to frustrations boiling over, with an incensed Emmitt striking an opponent as he left the field sparking a full-on confrontation involving the majority of players from both clubs. With Emmitt red-carded for his part in the melee, both Toronto’s Wallace and Oxford’s Windley received dismissals leaving only 23 men on the field. Oxford immediately took advantage with a second short-range Canterbury touchdown and found themselves with a two man advantage when Penkywicz was sinbinned in the aftermath. But it was Ryan Burroughs’ score on 75 minutes which ensured that Toronto’s final try of a ground-breaking day would be scored by a man from North America.

 

GAME BREAKER: After Fleming was twice held up over the try-line, Andrew Dixon’s tenth minute try put the Wolfpack 12-0 up and their lead was never challenged after this.

 

TekSavvy Difference Maker: Wolfpack Captain Craig Hall scored one try and was involved in several of the others as he marshalled his men to victory.

 

Team Lineup & Match Stats

TORONTO WOLFPACK

4 Craig Hall
2 Jonathan Pownall
3 Greg Worthington
4 Gary Wheeler
5 Liam Kay
27 Ryan Brierley
6 Blake Wallace
21 Adam Sidlow
24 Sean Penkywicz
29 Jacob Emmitt
11 Andrew Dixon
17 Richard Whiting
10 Dan Fleming

Subs (all used)

7 Rhys Jacks
15 Ryan Burroughs
16 Shaun Pick
19 Steve Crossley

Tries: Wallace (3), Dixon (10, 34), Pownall (16, 61), Whiting (20, 27), Brierley (23, 54), Hall (46), Worthington (51), Burroughs (75)

Goals: Hall 7/12

Sinbin: Kay 43 – punching, Emmitt 68 – not square at marker, Penkywicz 76 – dissent

Dismissed: Emmitt 69 – punching, Wallace 69 – punching.

 

OXFORD

1 Jordan Gill
2 Josh Atkinson
4 Marcus Brooker
3 Harvey Burnett
5 Tommy Newbould
6 Callum Windley
7 Kane Riley
8 Stuart Biscomb
9 Casey Canterbury
12 Dwaine Mcrae
16 Jordan Siddons
10 Anthony Cox
13 Craig Wright

Subs (all used)

25 Bradley Moles
14 Aaron Nicholson
11 Mark Hayes
17 Luke Evans

Tries: Canterbury (31, 71)

Goals: Burnett 2/2

Dismissed: Windley 69 – punching

 

Penalty count: 11-10

Half-time: 40-6

Referee: Brandon Robinson

Attendance: 6281

Scoring Sequence: 6-0, 12-0, 16-0, 22-0, 28-0, 34-0, 34-6, 40-6, 44-6, 48-6, 52-6, 58-6, 58-12, 62-12.

 

Air Transat 3 Stars

 

Images From Match