Match Report: Toronto Wolfpack vs York City Knights

SIMON DAVIES at Lamport Stadium, Saturday July 1st

Toronto and York thrilled the Canada Day crowds combining for 16 tries on the nation’s 150th birthday, but the Wolfpack took the spoils after an incredible 52-point scoring blitz between the 30th and 60th minutes including five tries from winger Liam Kay.

The opening half hour gave no hint of the Wolfpack dominance to come. Toronto opened the scoring on 21 minutes when Bob Beswick crashed over from four metres out, but were rocked back by two York tries in three minutes. Liam Harris scored the first on an interception, and winger David Foggin-Johnston the second after an excellent move involving Harris and Joe Batchelor. With Connor Robinson converting both tries, York led 12-6 after 28 minutes.

But Toronto finally recaptured the form which has taken them to the top of the table. After good work from Steve Crossley, Quentin Laulu-Togaga’e put Jonny Pownall in to touch down in the corner on 30 minutes with Craig Hall converting. Liam Kay added two more on 33 and 37 minutes, bringing the half time score to 20-12.

Within two minutes of the restart Kay was in for his hat-trick after Beswick had dummied to the right before finding the winger in space to his left. Kay’s fourth try, on 47 minutes, was his best. After Adam Sidlow barged through a tackle on half-way, James Laithwaite worked the ball out to Kay who kicked ahead and chased it 15 metres for the touchdown.

Rhys Jacks replaced Gary Wheeler in the halves and immediately made an impact, being involved in Toronto’s next two tries. First he found Ryan Brierley and the ball was worked out via Laulu-Togaga’e to Hall who set up Pownall for his second try on 49 minutes. Jacks then sent a looping pass over the defender to Kay who went in for his fifth. With Hall’s conversion Toronto led 44-12 on 52 minutes.

York were getting very little possession and the Wolfpack were signing off every set with a try. Sean Penkywicz, Jack Bussey and Craig Hall each added further scores to complete Toronto’s relentless half hour barrage.

After 65 minutes the visitors finally exerted some pressure, with Brad Hey just short of the line, but it was Toronto’s Laulu-Togaga’e who was to score next on 67 minutes capitalizing after York found Brierley’s kick too hot to handle, and Toronto stretched their lead to 64-12.

But York were able to claim the final two tries of the day. On 75 minutes Batchelor kicked ahead to allow Foggin-Johnston to run 20 metres to touch down for his second, with Robinson adding the extras. Four minutes later the combination struck again with Batchelor’s grubber kick bouncing kindly for Foggin-Johnston who completed a well-deserved hat-trick.

For one Wolfpack player, Canada’s 150th anniversary had a special significance. Rhys Jacks was brought up in Brisbane but his father’s father was born and bred in Toronto. ‘I took a walk to see the house where he grew up, it’s only 30 minutes from Lamport Stadium. The connection with this country means a lot to me, and I’m pleased I could make a contribution on Canada Day’.

GAME BREAKER: Jonny Pownall’s 30th minute try was the start of a remarkable half hour performance from Toronto in which they recorded ten tries and 52 points, breaking the resistance of a York side who had been leading when the onslaught began.

GAMESTAR: Liam Kay scored five Wolfpack tries in a devastating 20 minutes spell either side of half-time – the fourth try being the most memorable as he chased his own kick 15 metres and barrelled through the York defence to touch it down.

MATCH FACTS

TORONTO WOLFPACK

No Player
1 Quentin Laulu-Togaga’e
2 Jonny Pownall
3 Greg Worthington
4 Craig Hall
5 Liam Kay
27 Ryan Brierley
14 Gary Wheeler
8 Fuifui Moimoi
9 Bob Beswick
29 Jake Emmitt
12 James Laithwaite
17 Richard Whiting
13 Jack Bussey

Subs (all used)
7 Rhys Jacks
19 Steve Crossley
21 Adam Sidlow
24 Sean Penkywicz

Tries: Beswick (21), Pownall (30, 49), Kay (33, 37, 42, 47, 52), Penkywicz (55), Bussey (58), Hall (60) Togaga’e (67).
Goals: Hall 8/12

York City Knights

1 Ash Robson
3 Nev Morrison,
17 Brad Hey
24 Adam Swift
2 David Foggin-Johnston
34 Connor Robinson
31 Liam Harris
8 Bobby Tyson-Wilson
29 Will Jubb
28 Kieran Moran
12 Ed Smith
11 Joe Batchelor
10 Chris Siddons

Subs (all used)
9 Pat Smith
15 Liam Thompson
16 Ronan Dixon
19 James Haynes

Tries: Harris (25), Foggin-Johnston (28, 75, 79)
Goals: Robinson: 3/4

Rugby Leaguer & League Express Men of the Match

Toronto Wolfpack: Liam Kay
York City Knights David Foggin-Johnston

Penalty count: 8-12
Half-time: 20-12
Referee: John McMullen
Attendance: 5646

SCORING SEQUENCE: 6-0, 6-6, 6-12, 10-12, 16-12, 20-12, 26-12, 32-12, 38-12, 44-12, 48-12, 54-12, 58-12, 64-12, 64-18, 64-22

Air Transat 3 Stars

Images from the Match