Match Report: Toronto Wolfpack v Featherstone Rovers
Toronto Wolfpack have held on at home against a fast-finishing Featherstone Rovers to the tune of a 22-18 victory that wasn’t assured until the dying stages of a brutal clash. The win is the Wolfpack’s 20th of the season from 21 starts and came in front of a large crowd soaking up the summer sun and celebrating the Wolfpack’s second annual Rugby Heritage game.
It was an electric start to the fiery encounter, with the home side gaining valuable territory off the boot of skipper Josh McCrone before Gareth O’Brien took full advantage and opened the scoring just two minutes after the opening whistle. The Wolfpack would then be forced to spend ten minutes a man down after a clash between Darcy Lussick and former Toronto big man Jack Bussey saw the former sent to the sin bin.
The incident sent Toronto scrambling in defense and saw the Rovers push hard for the line consistently and aggressively. Ultimately however, the Wolfpack line held strong and managed to repel each attack launched by the visitors, preserving their slender early lead.
The deadlock lasted for half an hour before Chase Stanley broke Featherstone hearts with an opportunistic try out of dummy half in the dying stages of the first period. A conversion from O’Brien took the margin at the halfway mark of the intriguing contest to 14 in favor of the home side.
Featherstone began the second half full of energy and passion, resulting in an early try from the steamrolling Ormondroyd who fought through several tackles and refused to be stopped on his way to the try-line. The Wolfpack responded in kind quickly however when Ricky Leutele scored his eighth try from the last 10 games in the aftermath of some quick hands from O’Brien on the left wing.
The visitors showed they weren’t going away however when Josh Walters crossed the line to torment his former coach Brian McDermott and bring the Rovers within a single converted try on the scoreboard with plenty of time left to play. McCrone would then make his presence felt just when his side needed it most, extending the Wolfpack’s lead out to 10 with a determined effort that ended over the line in the right hand corner.
It was an instant response from the Rovers however when Connor Jones found himself in wide open space thanks to some remarkable work from Wellington Albert to beat the Wolfpack defensive line. The four-pointer brought the traveling Featherstone within a single score and set up a nail-biting final ten minutes at the Den. The home side would manage to hold on throughout a frantic finish to claim a tight victory against a Rovers side that proved again they are strong competitors in 2019 and will push all the way for the prize of Super League promotion should they claim a berth in the play-offs.
The Wolfpack’s next challenge comes in the form of a trip back the UK for a showdown with Widnes Vikings on Sunday, July 21st. The Vikings have put together a 12-win season to this stage and will undoubtably prove a formidable opponent on their home turf of Halton Stadium. 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.
2’ Try Wolfpack: O’Brien. Conversion: O’Brien 6-0
21’ Penalty Wolfpack: O’Brien 8-0
36’ Try Wolfpack: Stanley. Conversion: O’Brien 14-0
Half Time: 14 – 0
43’ Try Featherstone: Ormondroyd. Conversion: Dagger 14-6
48’ Try Wolfpack: Leutele 18-6
55’ Try Rovers: Walters. Conversion: Dagger 18-12
65’ Try Wolfpack: McCrone 22-12
72’ Try Rovers: Jones. Conversion: Dagger 22-18
Full Time: 22-18