TORONTO WOLFPACK 62 – 14 SWINTON LIONS
A rampant second half performance resulted in Toronto Wolfpack seeing off Swinton Lions in comfortable fashion, ensuring the league leaders recorded their tenth successive win in all competitions.
In their first outing on Canadian soil for the season, played in front of a boisterous and vocal home crowd at Fletcher’s Fields in Markham, the Wolfpack endured a competitive and tough opening 40 minutes but blew the Lions away after half time with a sensational attacking display.
Having waited seven months to see their side in action at home, the Wolfpack fans were treated to a showcase of high quality and exciting attacking rugby league as the hosts ran in twelve tries in all, including a hat trick to the outstanding Liam Kay and proved their ability to strike from all over the field.
Bottom of the table Swinton were tenacious and gritty from minute one and scored a try in either half but in the end were no match for the inform Toronto, who extended their lead at the top of the ladder to three points and will head to Warrington Wolves next week in the Challenge Cup full of confidence.
Head Coach Paul Rowley was delighted with the second half performance from his side and a fitting end to a successful first week in Canada for the Wolfpack in 2018 before tackling a huge schedule of games over the next three weeks. He said:
“We got a little bit too individually involved in the first half against a real committed and willing Swinton side. They (Swinton) had a real dig and they start games well but we regrouped at half time and fixed it up.
“We started playing smart and our completed sets in the second half were very high and we knew it would be tough for Swinton if we could hold the ball.
“I thought our attitude was first class. There has been a real challenge for us to maintain our consistency and our attitude; the two are very closely linked and we’ve definitely ticked those boxes today and rotated some players so I’m very happy.”
Swinton opened the scoring through a Chris Hankinson penalty goal before the Wolfpack hit back with the first try of the game.
Bob Beswick shaped to go right before firing a lovely cut out ball for Liam Kay to score on the left. After some punishing defence from Toronto, forcing a goal line drop out from the Lions, the hosts were in again for their second inside ten minutes.
The Wolfpack shifted the ball slickly to the right and provided just enough room for Chase Stanley to beat his man for a converted try to double their advantage.
Swinton responded in kind with their first try to Ben Austin, as the prop forward took a lovely flat pass at the line to crash between two defenders but it didn’t take the Wolfpack long to nullify that with their third score.
After Nick Rawsthorne had gone close down the left edge, a lovely weighted grubber kick through the middle from Josh McCrone bounced perfectly for Gareth O’Brien to score next to the posts and re-establish a two score lead.
Substitute Olsi Krasniqi barged over for Toronto’s fourth try of the afternoon after taking the defence on himself close to the line for his first score in a Wolfpack jersey to put the hosts in total control approaching half time.
Both sides then traded near misses. Firstly, Swinton went close to scoring through Gabriel Fell but the fullback was called back for a knock on in the lead up before McCrone almost ghosted through the line only to be forced to throw a wild offload that was snapped up by the defence.
Cory Paterson looked certain to score his second try in two weeks but the Lions defence did really well to hold him up and their defence escaped a second successive scare when Andrew Dixon had a try ruled out for a forward pass on the next play to leave the hosts with a three score lead at the break.
Toronto flew out of the blocks after half time to kill the game off with three quick fire tries. Kay and O’Brien both registered their second of the game before a length of the field effort from Rawsthorne brought the crowd to its feet.
Paterson snapped up Swinton’s kick off and handed it on to McCrone who then found the young centre to streak away 80 metres down field to put the Wolfpack out of reach.
Toronto had upped the speed of the game and Swinton couldn’t contain the hosts as they extended their lead through Blake Wallace, who broke from inside his own half from the scrum having just come on the field followed swiftly by an Adam Sidlow try a few minutes later.
Swinton needed to do something to stem the flow of points and did so in fine fashion with a try to Mike Butt. A rare foray into Toronto territory saw the winger catch a Jack Hansen kick out wide and score all in the one motion.
As had been the case throughout the match, Toronto responded immediately with another try to their tally and it was a sublime individual effort from Kay to complete his hat trick and take Toronto over 50 points.
A dangerous chip over from Luke Waterworth was cut off by the winger, who beat the chasers before weaving his way through the middle of the field and beat the fullback one on one for a fine individual score.
The procession continued with two more tries. Dixon crashed onto a Ryan Brierley pass to join the scorers on his return from injury and Adam Higson rounded off the scoring in the corner on the final siren to put an exclamation mark on the biggest win of the season for the Wolfpack as they get their campaign in Canada off to the perfect start.
Air Transat 1st Star: Liam Kay was at his brilliant attacking best in front of an adoring Canadian home crowd. The Wolfpack left winger has been one of the club’s most consistent this season and combined his tireless work in his own half with a hat trick of tries in a fantastic afternoon’s work.
Air Transat 2nd Star: Gareth O’Brien
Air Transat 3rd Star: Cory Paterson
31 Gareth O’Brien
19 Adam Higson
33 Chase Stanley
23 Nick Rawsthorne
5 Liam Kay
6 Josh McCrone (C)
7 Ryan Brierley
29 Jake Emmitt
9 Bob Beswick
32 Darcy Lussick
24 Cory Paterson
13 Jack Bussey
15 Adam Sidlow
Subs (all used)
11 Andrew Dixon
17 Blake Wallace
21 Olsi Krasniqi
28 Sam Hopkins
Tries: Kay (7, 43, 70), Stanley (10), O’Brien (23, 48), Krasniqi (26), Rawsthorne (50), Wallace (53), Sidlow (60), Dixon (76), Higson (80)
Goals: Brierley 7/12
1 Gabriel Fell
5 Mike Butt
3 Chris Hankinson
4 George Tyson
16 Ilias Bergal
6 Brad Billsborough
7 Jack Hansen
15 Ben Austin
9 Luke Waterworth
17 Kyle Shelford
11 Rhodri Lloyd
10 Andrew Thornley
25 Will Hope
Subs (all used)
14 Hayden Hansen
18 Mark Nicholson
21 Chris Worrall
Tries: Austin (15), Butt (66)
Goals: Hankinson (3/3)
Penalty count: 4-4
Referee: T Grant
Half time: 22-8
Scoring sequence: 0-2, 4-2, 10-2, 10-8, 16-8, 22-8, 26-8, 32-8, 36-8, 42-8, 48-8, 48-14, 52-14, 58-14, 62-14