Match Report: Batley Bulldogs v Toronto Wolfpack
Toronto Wolfpack have maintained their perfect record against Batley Bulldogs, coming out on top in the fourth all-time meeting between the two sides 10-40. The victory takes the Wolfpack’s 2019 record to 18-1 and solidifies their position at the head of the Betfred Championship standings with eight rounds left to play leading into finals.
A dominant opening from the Wolfpack saw them register their 121st try of the season just four minutes into the contest. Superior field position came to bear quickly thanks to an aggressive run from Anthony Mullally and a slick pass from Ricky Leutele culminating with a spectacular dive from Matty Russell on the left wing to open the scoring. Gareth O’Brien continued his remarkable form with the boot and added the extras from the sideline to strengthen his side’s early advantage.
Leutele would have his own moments later after combining with the side-step of Blake Wallace to put the ball down beside the post. The Wolfpack were forced into frantic defence on occasion due to multiple handling errors throughout the first half, with veteran Jon WIlkin leading the way down back with several strong, important tackles. Able to repel the Bulldogs advances, it was on the counter that the Wolfpack scored their third try, with Bodene Thompson turning on the jets and handing it off to Matty Russell who finished the length of the field charge with his second try of the game.
The try was a brutal blow to Batley, who had been impressive for consecutive sets but were unable to make it count on the scoreboard. They bounced back quickly however, with Alistair Leak mounting a superb attack out of halfback and dishing it off to Louis Jouffret who brought the Bulldogs back into the contest with a try that he converted himself. Their resurgence was quickly squashed by Gareth O’Brien at the other end of the field when he strolled through a huge gap in the Batley line and added another converted try to the margin as half-time drew near.
It was a raucous start to the second half, with both sides registering a try within ten minutes of the restart and making it clear the clash was still very much alive. Andy Ackers would finally put the contest beyond the home side in the 60th minute, scoring his second of the contest in the aftermath of strong work from Joe Mellor.
Ricky Leutele capped of a sensational individual performance in the clash with his second four-pointer in the dying minutes that pushed the margin out to 30 and added an exclamation point to his side’s performance. It was not the Wolfpack’s most polished performance of the 2019 season but they did what was required and leave Batley with another all-important victory as they build towards a Club-defining finals series.
The Wolfpack now board a plane destined for Toronto in readiness for a clash with Halifax R.L.F.C at Lamport Stadium on Saturday, July 6th. Tickets are still available for Superhero Day at the Den where fans will be able to celebrate first responders from across the city amongst the renowned Wolfpack party atmosphere. Fans can tune in live on Sky Sports in the UK, Game TV and CBC sports online in Canada and globally courtesy of the Wolfpack’s Facebook page.
5’ Try Wolfpack: Russell. Conversion: O’Brien 0-6
9’ Try Wolfpack: Leutele. Conversion: O’Brien 0-12
25’ Try Wolfpack: Russell. Conversion: O’Brien 0-18
29’ Try Bulldogs: Jouffret. Conversion: Jouffret 6-18
35’ Try Wolfpack: O’Brien. Conversion: O’Brien 6-24
Half Time: 6 – 24
42’ Try Wolfpack: Ackers. Conversion: O’Brien 6-30
49’ Try Bulldogs: Walker 10-30
60’ Try Wolfpack: Ackers. Conversion: Wallace 10-36
76’ Try Wolfpack: Leutele 10-40
Full Time: 10 – 40