TORONTO WOLFPACK 64 – 0 BARROW RAIDERS
The Toronto Wolfpack juggernaut rolls on for another week after the Canadian side dispatched close rivals Barrow Raiders by another impressive score line. The game at Lamport Stadium was watched by 5,287 fans who braved the a pre-match downpour to Defend the Den.
The Wolfpack make it three straight wins on home soil and ran in twelve tries to score over 60 points for the second week running. However, what was arguably more impressive was the defence of the Pack, who kept their opponents scoreless for the first time this season.
Toronto were held to a 24 point lead at half time thanks to a committed and battling first half from the visitors, but the Wolfpack cut loose in a more clinical second half, scoring seven more tries and rarely gave the visitors a sniff.
Barrow came into the game with just 14 players due to injury, giving runs to both Ben Garner and Chris Fleming on the wings from local amateur clubs, and lost half back Ryan Johnson inside the opening minute for a long period of the game.
The Cumbrians have been fiercely competitive all season, particularly against the Wolfpack having fought out two very close encounters, but were never really in the contest and had little in response to Toronto’s superior quality and man power to leave them winless from three attempts in Canada.
With just five games remaining before the Super 8s, it will take some form of late season collapse to prevent Toronto from finishing top of the pile in the Championship, meaning they will get the added benefit of four more home games.
The Wolfpack have been superb defending the den and have yet to lose a game in Canada since coming into existence in 2017.
With the form the Canadians are in, they will certainly be confident of matching any side, both Championship and Super League, in their pursuit of promotion this season.
Australian scrum half Blake Wallace turned in a two try man of the match performance, and he paid tribute to the efforts of both sides after the game. He said:
“There’s plenty of history there, we’ve played Barrow that many times now and they’re always a physical team.”
“They came over here with only 14 boys so it was going to be tough for them but they kept coming. They’re a big side and have some good players and their forwards aimed up.
“We’ve shown that we have plenty of players in our team that can finish tries and we can score from all over the field so it’s very pleasing for us.”
Wolfpack Assistant Coach Kurt Haggerty was happy with his side’s performance, particularly in defence. He said:
“I’m really impressed with the zero. Barrow are a very physical side and they score a lot of barge over tries from close range so I was very happy with how professional and focused we were in defence today.”
Conversely, Barrow Coach Paul Crarey was upbeat about his side’s commitment despite a heavy defeat. He explained:
“I thought it was a brave effort from our boys. We lost Ryan Johnson with a dislocated shoulder early on and we had to reshuffle but two quick tries off a poor restart after half time really hurt us.”
“This game was about coming over and leaving with some credibility and I think for the most part we have done that. We were pretty busted near the end so I’m happy with the effort from my boys.”
After a stuttering start with the ball for both teams, it was a familiar sight for Wolfpack fans as Liam Kay opened the scoring, finishing off a flowing play off a scrum to touch down in the left corner.
Gareth O’Brien picked up where he left off the previous week, slicing through on the left hand side to score out wide, his third try in two games, and doubled Toronto’s advantage.
Toronto were dominating both possession and field position and made it count swiftly with two more tries before the 25 minute mark.
Blake Wallace produced his trademark left foot step to dart over from close range for his first before the half back turned provider, supplying a neat short pass for Cory Paterson to crash over for the home side’s fourth try in quick succession.
The Wolfpack were guilty of some wayward execution late in the first half and let a number of half chances slip.
They eventually edged themselves further in front just before the break through Bob Beswick, returning from a two game suspension, who picked up a loose ball following a Shane Toal mistake to score a simple try.
The hosts made the perfect start to the second half, with two tries in four minutes after half time. Nick Rawsthorne kept up his impressive try scoring form after latching onto a well weighted O’Brien kick before Wallace grabbed his second, supporting a break from Olsi Krasniqi to score from long range.
With seemingly all of the scoring action on the left hand side, the right edge got in on the action. Matty Russell took an O’Brien pass and shrugged off two defenders to score before Adam Sidlow dived over on the next set on the right following a weaving break from Russell.
Barrow managed to stem the tide for a brief period and gained a few sets in a row in promising field position but superior defence from Toronto saw Barrow never really looked like scoring.
Toronto clicked back into gear to hit the 50 point mark. Rawsthorne notched up his second, finishing a well executed short side play on the left to score in the corner and was shortly followed by Kay, who completed his double with a superb individual try.
Taking a Wallace pass, Toronto’s top try scorer weaved his way through the middle of the field before beating the fullback and the cover defence to reach the line for his 23rdtry of the season.
There was just enough time remaining for Andy Ackers to dart over from dummy half to score from close range to see the Wolfpack break the 60 point barrier and put an exclamation mark through another big win for the league leaders.
Air Transat 1st Star: Blake Wallace has taken his chance in the starting side with both hands in the last couple of week and was outstanding for Toronto. The elusive Australian was dangerous every time he touched the ball, scoring two tries and setting up a couple in a controlled and professional display.
Air Transat 2nd Star: Matty Russell
Air Transat 3rd Star: Adam Sidlow
31 Gareth O’Brien
30 Matty Russell
3 Greg Worthington
23 Nick Rawsthorne
5 Liam Kay
6 Josh McCrone (C)
17 Blake Wallace
8 Jack Buchanan
14 Andy Ackers
32 Darcy Lussick
11 Andrew Dixon
24 Cory Paterson
29 Jake Emmitt
Subs (all used)
9 Bob Beswick
15 Adam Sidlow
21 Olsi Krasniqi
22 Rich Whiting
Tries: Kay (11, 78), O’Brien (17), Wallace (21, 44), Paterson (24), Beswick (38), Rawsthorne (42, 66), Russell (50), Sidlow (52), Ackers (80)
Goals: O’Brien 8/12
2 Shane Toal
Ben Garner (D)
12 Jarrad Stack
24 Danny Morrow
Chris Fleming (D)
6 Jamie Dallimore
21 Ryan Johnson
8 Joe Bullock
14 Karl Ashall
27 Ryan Duffy
17 Alec Susino
25 Jono Smith
9 Nathan Mossop
Subs (all used)
20 Matthew While
Penalty count: 9-4
Referee: J McMullen
Half time: 24-0
Scoring sequence: 4-0, 10-0, 16-0, 20-0, 24-0, 30-0, 36-0, 42-0, 48-0, 52-0, 58-0, 64-0