WARRINGTON WOLVES 66 – 10 TORONTO WOLFPACK
Toronto Wolfpack’s winning streak came to an end along with their run in the 2018 Ladbrokes Challenge Cup as the Championship leaders fell to a heavy defeat against a white hot Warrington Wolves.
After leading for much of the first half thanks to an extremely strong and controlled opening half an hour, the Wolfpack were left to rue the dismissal of Andrew Dixon for punching just before the interval and had no answer to the primrose and blue onslaught in the second half.
Warrington found themselves under pressure and struggling to cope with the slickness of the Wolfpack to begin with but weathered the storm and made full use of the man advantage, scoring twelve tries in total to comfortably book their place in the quarter-finals.
It was a difficult afternoon for the Canadians, who saw their frustrations in the game amount to three individual sin binnings to go with the red card of Dixon and at one stage had just ten men on the field.
Despite winning their last eleven matches and coming into the game fully confident in producing an upset, the second half proved a step too far for Paul Rowley’s men, who could do very little to stop the Wolves racking up a big score line in an totally dominant second half display.
Toronto must now draw a line through the game and will look to bounce back in quick fashion, with a mouth-watering clash with Toulouse at St James’ Park in Newcastle, as part of the Dacia Magic Weekend, the next destination.
Head Coach Rowley was visibly disappointed after the game, admitting there was a lot to learn moving forward and was left frustrated by his side’s response to multiple setbacks. He said:
“We wanted to put our best foot forward and I think we did that in the first half. I think we perhaps deserved to be ahead at half time and the game was very evenly matched.”
“That was a complete contrast to the second half. It was a bit shambolic really. You can’t play with three men in the bin and one red card against a team that is high on confidence and playing well on their own pitch.
“As the first half went on I think the pressure built on Warrington and they didn’t like that pressure. Having said that our reaction to the scuffle that resulted in the sending off was poor from our part and we deserved what we got there; we were our own worst enemies.
“I’m not going to shirk behind anything and we accept that we weren’t good enough in terms of our discipline and how we dealt with certain situations so we need to be better.”
An enthusiastic and energetic start from the Wolfpack saw them silence the home crowd with the first score of the afternoon.
Toronto shifted the ball slickly from right to left before shipping the ball back to the right and Adam Higson took Gareth O’Brien’s terrific cut out pass to score acrobatically in the corner.
There was plenty of physicality from the visitors in the opening ten minutes, with swarming defence limiting the Wolves go forward and it didn’t take them long to extend their lead with a try to Liam Kay.
On the back of a penalty, Toronto worked the ball left and O’Brien was on hand to find another wonderful pass to put Kay away to score his 16thtry of the season.
Warrington got on the board through Mike Cooper, who was able to spin out of a tackle and crash over next to the posts for a converted try to bring the hosts back into the game.
The game was held up following the try as former Wolves man Ashton Sims was cautioned alongside Warrington captain Chris Hill following an altercation in the aftermath of the try.
The visitors lost Kay to the sin bin, after his involvement in a dangerous tackle on Josh Charnley, leaving the Wolfpack to play with a man less up to half time.
Kevin Brown had a try ruled out by the video referee for obstruction and the resulting possession allowed the Wolfpack to edge further in front through a Ryan Brierley penalty goal.
That was as good as it got for the visitors as the first half ended on a sour note. A notable bust up between Dixon and Harvey Livett ended with the Toronto second rower being given his marching orders and Toronto were punished further by having the lead snatched off them just before half time.
Warrington used the extra man to their advantage, with Stefan Rathford creating enough space for Charnley to squeeze in on the right to leave the Wolfpack trailing by two at the break.
The Wire opened the scoring in the second half with their first possession. A Ratchford offload saw Daryl Clark race into space, who handed it on to Brown and he handed it inside for Livett to score.
The hosts made it two tries in five minutes as they extended their lead through Ben Murdoch-Masila. Tyrone Roberts’ deft pass put the hulking forward through untouched to the right of the posts.
Toronto couldn’t catch a break from the referee Ben Thaler, who sin binned skipper Josh McCrone for dissent leaving the Wolfpack with eleven men and a two score deficit to overturn.
Warrington cracked Toronto’s line for the third time in the half, as Jack Hughes took a short pass to crash through the line to put the hosts in total control.
Darcy Lussick joined McCrone in the sin bin and Warrington capitalised through a simple barge over try to Ben Westwood before Tom Lineham was set away for his first try to put the home side out of sight with over a quarter of the game remaining.
Roberts joined the try scorers for Warrington, taking Hughes’ offload out of the tackle to score on the right as the Wolfpack looked exhausted due to the lack of possession and man power.
Warrington raced the length of the field following a Toronto error to give Lineham his second and Higson was withdrawn after injuring his shoulder in back play to make matters worse.
Murdoch-Masila charge through two defenders to grab his brace and Warrington’s tenth try of the afternoon before Charnley made it three players with a double as he streaked away on the right to score under the posts.
Lineham completed his hat trick in the final minute to see Warrington run out emphatic winners and leave the Wolfpack licking their wounds after their first defeat in twelve matches.
1 Stefan Ratchford
2 Tom Lineham
3 Bryson Goodwin
4 Ryan Atkins
27 Josh Charnley
6 Kevin Brown
7 Tyrone Roberts
8 Chris Hill (C)
9 Daryl Clark
10 Mike Cooper
20 Harvey Livett
12 Jack Hughes
34 Ben Westwood
Subs (all used)
17 Joe Philbin
13 Ben Murdoch-Masila
15 Declan Patton
16 Sitaleki Akauola
Tries: Cooper (23), Charnley (40, 73), Livett (41), Murdoch-Masila (45, 70), Hughes (51), Westwood (54), Lineham (57, 67, 80), Roberts (59)
Goals: Goodwin 9/12
31 Gareth O’Brien
19 Adam Higson
33 Chase Stanley
3 Greg Worthington
5 Liam Kay
6 Josh McCrone (C)
7 Ryan Brierley
32 Darcy Lussick
9 Bob Beswick
10 Ashton Sims
11 Andrew Dixon
24 Cory Paterson
29 Jake Emmitt
Subs (all used)
15 Adam Sidlow
13 Jack Bussey
14 Andy Ackers
28 Sam Hopkins
Tries: Higson (7), Kay (15)
Goals: Brierley 1/3
Dismissals:Kay (sin bin), Dixon (sent off), McCrone (sin bin), Lussick (sin bin)
Penalty count: 16-8
Referee: B Thaler
Half time: 12-10
Scoring sequence: 0-4, 0-8, 6-8, 6-10, 12-10, 16-10, 22-10, 28-10, 34-10, 40-10, 44-10, 50-10, 56-10, 62-10, 66-10