Match Report: Super 8s Toronto Wolfpack vs Doncaster RLFC

MITCHELL TIERNEY, Lamport Stadium, September 16, 2017

The Toronto Wolfpack had to come from behind in order to win the final match of their inaugural rugby league season 26-14 over Doncaster.

Doncaster, who needed a win to guarantee a spot in the promotion playoffs, led for the majority of the match.

However, their determined effort ultimately fell short to a Wolfpack side emboldened by a record 8,456 attendance at Lamport Stadium in Toronto. A hat-trick from Toronto’s Johnny Pownall proved to be the difference between the two teams.

Knowing they needed a result to save their season, Doncaster struck first on 10 minutes. Jordan Lane cut through the Wolfpack line before sliding into the try zone. Jack Miller converted, as he did with both Doncaster tries.

Toronto replied on 15 minutes when Gary Wheleer played a looping pass out wide to Johnny Pownall who touched it down in the corner. Hall missed the conversion, he was three for five on the day, and the Doncaster lead was cut to two.

Those were the Wolfpack’s only points of the half, as they failed to match the intensity of the visitors. On 22 minutes, Doncaster capitilized on some relaxed play from Toronto to force a dropout under the sticks. On the resulting set, Kyle Kesik forced his way through the Wolfpack line and touched down.

Doncaster continued to put pressure on the Wolfpack until the halftime hooter, at which point they led by a score of 12-4. It was the first home game in which Toronto trailed at half-time this season.

Toronto started the second half on the front foot, but were greeted by a resilient Doncaster line. The Wolfpack finally found a way through on 49 when Blake Wallace scored his 17th try of the season to cut the Doncaster lead to 12-10.

Doncaster briefly slowed the Wolfpack’s momentum on 52 minutes when Miller kicked a penalty to extend the lead to four points.

However, four minutes later the Wolfpack tied the match. Quentin Laulu-Togaga’e broke through a couple of tackles deep in Doncaster territory and found Pownall out wide, who added his second try of the match.

The Wolfpack then took the lead on 66 minutes. Laulu-Togaga’e fumbled the ball backwards but was able to recover in time to play a pass from his chest, catching Doncaster off guard. The ball moved to Pownall who had plenty of space to finish off his hat-trick.

Liam Kay put the game seemingly beyond reach on 68 minutes. Kay, who had been causing the Doncaster line all kinds of problems all match, was finally able to find his way through with some clever footwork. The resulting try was his 25th of the season and gave the Wolfpack a 26-14 lead.

Doncaster, knowing their season could be over if they didn’t at least get a point, responded by pushing deep into Toronto territory. But their determination could only get them so far, as Toronto saw out the clock for their 20th win of the season.

GAME BREAKER Liam Kay’s try on 68 minutes put the Wolfpack up two scores late and seemed to soften the Doncaster resolve.

GAMESTAR In a match where several Toronto players struggled early, Johnny Pownall came up big throughout. He ended up with a hat trick.

MATCHFACTS

TORONTO WOLFPACK

1 Quentin Laulu-Togaga’e
2 Johnny Pownall
5 Liam Kay
4 Craig Hall (C)
15 Ryan Burroughs
6 Blake Wallace
14 Gary Wheeler
16 Shaun Pick
24 Sean Penkywicz
21 Adam Sidlow
11 Andrew Dixon
12 James Laithwaite
13 Jack Bussey

Subs (all used)
9 Bob Beswick
19 Steve Crossley
7 Rhys Jacks
20 Tom Dempsey

Tries: Pownall (15, 56, 66) Wallace (49) Kay (68)
Goals: Hall (3/5)

DONCASTER RLFC

1 Tom Carr
2 Ryan Jones
18 Aaron Jones-Bishop
21 Nick Rawsthorne
5 Sam Doherty
6 Hakim Miloudi
15 Jack Miller
26 Pete Green
9 Kyle Kesik (C)
19 Zac Braham
34 Brad England
25 Jordan Lane
7 Jordie Hedges

Subs (all used)
11 Jez Litten
12 Jason Muranka
13 Charlie Martin
20 Kieran Cross

Rugby Leaguer & League Express Men of the Match

Toronto: Johnny Pownall
Doncaster: Hakim Miloudi

Penalty Count: 5-9
Half-time: 4-12
Referee: Billy Pearson
Attendance: 8,456

SCORING SEQUENCE: 0-6, 4-6, 4-12, 10-12, 10-14, 14-14, 20-14, 26-14