Match Report: Super 8s Toronto Wolfpack vs Whitehaven

MITCHELL TIERNEY, Lamport Stadium, September 2, 2017

The Toronto Wolfpack took a big step towards being crowned champions by defeating Whitehaven 36-18 at Lamport Stadium.

The visitors kept the match close well into the second half, but three unanswered tries starting in the 63rd minute secured a Wolfpack victory.

From the opening hooter, it was clear that Whitehaven was going to be in tough against Toronto’s high-powered offence. Fuifui Moimoi trucked through a few Whitehaven defenders on the Wolfpack’s very first carry and did so again when he got the ball back moments later.

The set would end in a try, which came barely two minutes into the match when Richard Whiting touched down after taking a pass from Blake Wallace. Whiting added another try on 14 minutes after latching onto a Rhys Jacks grubber kick. Hall converted both to put the Wolfpack up 12-0 early. He went 4/7 on the day, and now has over 400 points on the season.

Some solid defence from Whitehaven halted Toronto’s momentum after that, and it was the visitors who scored next. Player/coach Carl Forster got Whitehaven on the board when he dove over the line on 32 minutes. Jordan Burns converted, as he did on all three of his attempts.

Toronto responded just two minutes later, with Bob Beswick bursting through the Whitehaven line and touching the ball down to extend the Toronto lead to 16-6. That score remained until the halftime hooter.

The early part of the second half was a back and forth battle between the two sides. Whitehaven once again cut into the Wolfpack lead on 46 minutes when James Newton went over. But the Wolfpack’s Johnny Pownall replied by touching down in the corner in the 51st.

The Lamport Stadium crowd grew particularly nervous two minutes later when James Tilley crashed over the line to put his team within two points of the Wolfpack. But 20-18 was a close as Whitehaven would come to the hosts on the day.

In a nine-minute stretch between the 63rd and 72nd minute, the Wolfpack put the game to bed with three straight tries courtesy of Liam Kay, Gary Wheeler and Quentin Laulu-Togaga’e. Toronto’s final try was particularly impressive, as Kay sent a looping cross-field kick right into the hands of a wide open Laulu-Togaga’e to bring the crowd to its feet.

The win means the Wolfpack now only need to beat Barrow Raiders next week at home in order to clinch promotion. Whitehaven, meanwhile, can no longer win the league.

GAME BREAKER: With Whitehaven trailing by only two points early in the second half, Liam Kay pushed through a defender to score the first of three straight Wolfpack tries.

GAMESTAR: Gary Wheeler made an instant impact off the bench in the second half for Toronto. First, he passed the ball to Kay on his try, before scoring one himself moments later.

MATCH FACTS

TORONTO WOLFPACK

1 Quentin Laulu-Togaga’e
2 Johnny Pownall
3 Greg Worthington
4 Craig Hall (C)
5 Liam Kay
6 Blake Wallace
7 Rhys Jacks
29 Jake Emmitt
9 Bob Beswick
8 Fuifui Moimoi
11 Andrew Dixon
17 Richard Whiting
13 Jack Bussey

Subs (all used)
21 Adam Sidlow
24 Sean Penkywicz
14 Gary Wheeler
10 Dan Fleming

Tries: Whiting (2,14) Beswick (34), Pownall (51), Kay (63), Wheeler (66), Laulu-Togaga’e (72)
Goals: Hall (4/7)

WHITEHAVEN

32 David Thompson
3 Chris Taylor
4 Jesse Joe Parker
5 Jordan Burns
15 Dion Aiye
9 James Newton
8 Marc Shackley
14 James Tilley
19 Glenn Riley
16 Connor Holliday
12 Scott McAvoy (C)
10 Carl Forster

Subs (all used)
30 Danny Green
2 Craig Calvert
17 Tommy Holland
24 Lewis Brown

Tries: Forster (32), Newton (47), Tilley (53)
Goals: Burns (3/3)

Rugby Leaguer & League Express Men of the Match

Toronto Wolfpack: Gary Wheeler
Whitehaven: Jordan Burns

Penalty count: 9-12
Half-time: 16-6
Referee: Nicolas Bennett
Attendance: 6,134

SCORING SEQUENCE: 6-0, 12-0, 12-6, 16-6, 16-12, 20-12, 20-18, 24-18, 30-18, 36-18

Air Transat 3 Stars

Images from the Match