DEWSBURY RAMS 12 – 23 TORONTO WOLFPACK
Toronto Wolfpack march on at the top of the Betfred Championship after dispatching Dewsbury Rams at the Tetley’s Stadium to extend their winning run to an impressive eight matches.
Tasked with their second foray into West Yorkshire in as many weeks and looking to replicate their success last time out at the expense of Batley, the Wolfpack turned in another professional and controlled performance to make the Rams their latest victim.
Dewsbury played tough and made the Wolfpack work for everything they got in the game but ultimately the visitors managed the game well and closed out the contest after an impressive opening half.
The game was played in largely wet conditions on a heavy and narrow pitch. However, a blistering four minute spell in the first half, in which Toronto registered three eye catching tries, put the Wolfpack in control that they would ultimately never relinquish.
It was another huge win for Head Coach Paul Rowley’s men, who have now completed their lengthy list of fixtures on the road, only tasting defeat once, and will now turn their attention to the Challenge Cup before embarking on a run of home games.
After passing arguably the toughest part of the regular season with flying colours, Rowley was again hugely proud of his players. He said:
“We scored some good tries in this weather and Dewsbury played at their best, which teams tend to do against us, and we ground out another win so I’ll certainly take that.
“We picked up a couple of injuries which was disappointing but we did well to reshuffle and only conceded one try and a bizarre one at the end so it’s very satisfying.
“It was a very well fought and old fashioned game. Both sides showed nothing but 100% and I’m very happy to come away with another win. That’s officially our last away game in the league now so we’ll look forward to coming home.”
The Wolfpack were boosted by the return from injury of Adam Higson and Bob Beswick after a number of weeks on the side lines whilst the Rams welcomed back influential half back Gareth Moore to increase the anticipation leading up to kick off.
Toronto looked sharp in the opening moments and went close to registering the first score inside five minutes but Chase Stanley’s attempted offload to Higson was judged to have gone forward.
Gareth O’Brien, fresh from scoring a hat trick the week prior, lunged for the line on the next set but lost the ball in the process and he and Dewsbury’s Rob Worrincy came together as emotions ran high early.
Greg Worthington limped from the field with only seven minutes played forcing a reshuffle, with Rich Whiting moving into the left centre position.
Heavy rain early in the first half hindered the host’s handling and they made a number of errors whilst attacking the Wolfpack line to prevent them from putting their opponents under any pressure.
Toronto had no such problem and opened the scoring on the back of their first penalty. After the Rams had been pinged for holding down Ryan Brierley the nimble half back regrouped to put Reni Maitua through a gap to crash over for his first try in Wolfpack colours.
The visitors turned on the style in the next set. Terrific go forward saw the Wolfpack inside Dewsbury’s half before excellent handling from Adam Sidlow, Brierley and O’Brien set Stanley away down the right and the centre offloaded back inside to Higson to score on his return to the side.
The Wolfpack were in a real purple patch and notched up their third try in three consecutive sets. A huge kick down field from Brierley was perfectly weighted; forcing Moore to desperately tap the ball in field which Brierley picked up, eventually finding Stanley to score his first try for the club.
Despite a three quick fire tries, Brierley was unsuccessful in adding any of the conversions to leave the Rams in touching distance with only a two score deficit, despite Toronto’s dominance in the opening quarter.
Dewsbury hit back with their first try of the game to find themselves only one score adrift after half an hour but there was an air of confusion surrounding it.
A neat kick through from Dom Speakman looked to be grounded by Aaron Brown but the ball was kicked away from him into the path of Speakman, who touched down despite the attention of O’Brien to get the Rams on the board.
After defending a set resolutely on their own line, Toronto earned a penalty right in front of the posts and Brierley converted without hesitation to put the visitors out to a two score advantage at the break.
Despite an energetic start from the Rams, Toronto were patient and eventually opened the scoring in the second half. A flowing move to the right gave O’Brien space to fire a terrific cut out pass to Higson who finished stylishly for his second to reaffirm the Wolfpack’s control.
A stunning 40/20 from the boot of O’Brien gave Toronto more prime field position on the next set. Olsi Krasniqi went within a blade of grass from scoring for the visitors before the Wolfpack had a certain try chalked off.
Stanley leapt high to claim a high kick and handed the ball on to Maitua to touch down but the big centre was deemed offside from the initial kick and the Rams hung in the contest.
Brierley composed himself well to knock over a crucial drop goal, extending Toronto’s lead to three scores with only ten minutes remaining and then stepped in with the game clinching score.
As Dewsbury looked to shift the ball wide in a bid to get on the board in the second half, Brierley intercepted a loose pass and his sublime speed took him the length of the field to wrap up the win for the Wolfpack.
The game finished in unusual fashion; with a penalty try to the Rams. A controversial decision by referee Robert Hicks to award a try to Rams second rower Sam Crowther, who was obstructed in the process of chasing a Speakman kick, was one that perplexed the Wolfpack players and resulted in O’Brien being sin binned in the final play of the game.
It could do little to dampen the Wolfpack’s spirits though, as they march on to Barrow in the Cup in red hot form.
Air Transat 1st Star: Despite being off from the kicking tee, Ryan Brierley was outstanding for the Wolfpack. He caused countless headaches for Dewsbury, controlling the right edge all afternoon and had a hand in four Toronto tries as well as scoring one himself and kicking a vital drop goal in a fine afternoons work.
Air Transat 2nd Star: Chase Stanley
Air Transat 3rd Star: Gareth O’Brien
1 Josh Guzdek
18 Gareth Potts
3 James Glover
4 Macauley Hallett
2 Rob Worrincy
6 Paul Sykes (C)
7 Gareth Moore
17 Toby Everett
14 Dom Speakman
22 Martyn Reilly
15 Lucas Walshaw
20 Sam Crowther
13 Aaron Brown
Subs (all used)
9 Robbie Ward
10 Jack Teanby
19 Sam Day
28 Kyle Trout
Tries: Speakman (25), Crowther (80)
Goals: Sykes 2/2
31 Gareth O’Brien
19 Adam Higson
33 Chase Stanley
3 Greg Worthington
5 Liam Kay
6 Josh McCrone
7 Ryan Brierley
15 Adam Sidlow
14 Andy Ackers
10 Ashton Sims
16 Reni Maitua
13 Jack Bussey
8 Jack Buchanan
Subs (all used)
9 Bob Beswick
21 Olsi Krasniqi
22 Richard Whiting
28 Sam Hopkins
Tries: Maitua (13), Higson (15 53), Stanley (17), Brierley (78)
Goals: Brierley 1/6
Field goals: Brierley 1/1
Dismissals: O’Brien (sin bin)
Penalty count: 10-5
Referee: R Hicks
Half time: 6-14
Scoring sequence: 0-4, 0-8, 0-12, 6-12, 6-14, 6-18, 6-19, 6-23, 12-23