Match Report | Toronto Wolfpack v Huddersfield Giants
11/03/2020 by Aiden McNicholas
Toronto Wolfpack have advanced to the sixth round of the 2020 Challenge Cup with a strong 0-18 victory over Huddersfield Giants at John Smith’s Stadium. Their maiden triumph of the year, Toronto jumped out of the blocks to build an early lead and fought hard to consolidate it amidst wet and windy conditions that rewarded their quick start.
Ricky Leutele brought energy and electricity all night for the Wolfpack while the returns of Joe Mellor and Chase Stanley to the side inspired improved performances from those around them. Anthony Mullally and Gadwin Springer did more than their fair share of heavy lifting during the fixture, relentlessly charging at the Huddersfield line from the opening minutes until the final whistle.
Toronto now wait until Monday to discover who they will face in the Challenge Cup sixth round, with the draw taking place in New York City. Eight additional Super League teams enter the competition from round six, with all remaining teams now just three wins away from the iconic Final at Wembley Stadium on July 18.
It was Leutele that sparked the Wolfpack’s electric opening against Huddersfield, registering a thrilling double within just 11 minutes to stamp his side’s authority on the fixture. Leutele’s first of the game, and first of the year, saw the winger collecting the ball within sight of the line before forcing his way through multiple defenders to open the scoring.
Josh McCrone created the next opportunity with a perfectly-placed kick through the Giants defensive line that sat up beautifully for Leutele to claim gleefully. One of the leading metre-makers in the Super League this season, Leutele’s performance against Huddersfield is a reminder to the competition of just how dangerous he can be. In 2019 the Samoan international scored 18 tries for Toronto, included a Semi-Final hat-trick that guided his side into the Grand Final.
Huddersfield pushed hard to strike back within the opening forty minutes but the Wolfpack line held firm to see the Giants unable to register points before the break. Two well struck penalties from Gareth O’Brien saw the margin sitting at 16-points as the two sides made their way into the sheds to recharge.
The elements intensified during the break, with strong rain and wind welcoming the players back to the field to begin the second half. The conditions made scoring extremely difficult, serving to strengthen the Wolfpack’s lead over the Giants. Gareth O’Brien perfectly illustrated the elements when he requested Chase Stanley lay down and hold the ball during a penalty kick to keep it from blowing away.
Two points from the boot of O’Brien was the only time the scorers were called into action during the second half as Toronto held on to claim an 18-point victory that they will look to turn into momentum for the coming weeks of Super League action.
Toronto now enter an extended break before facing Wakefield Trinity in the seventh round of the Super League on March 22 at Bootham Crescent. One of the Wolfpack’s home fixtures scheduled in the UK, the clash headlines a giant double-header also featuring a second-tier Championship battle between York City Knights and Featherstone Rovers. Kick-off is 5.15pm UK time, 1.15pm Toronto time and tickets are available by clicking here.
3’ Try Wolfpack: Leutele. Conversion: O’Brien 0-6
11’ Try Wolfpack: Leutele. Conversion: O’Brien 0-12
27’ Penalty Wolfpack: O’Brien 0-14
39’ Penalty Wolfpack: O’Brien 0-16
Half Time: 0 – 16
65’ Penalty Wolfpack: O’Brien 0-18
Full Time: 0-18