Toronto Wolfpack have suffered their worst defeat in club history, losing by 31 points to competition leaders the London Broncos at Trailfinders. The London Broncos turned in a clinical performance spearheaded by their dynamic halves, Irish representative Api Pewhairangi and former Penrith Panther Jarrod Sammut.
London established their dominance in the forward pack early and enjoyed a field position advantage in the opening exchanges. Pewhairangi capitalised on a grubber not cleaned up by Toronto to open the scoring. Toronto did not breach London’s 20 metre line until 13 minutes into the match and could not convert the opportunity into points. Second rower Matt Davis doubled London’s lead as he finished a line break.
Toronto centre Nick Rawsthorne was removed from the contest for a concussion test and did not return. Second rower Richard Whiting shifted into the left centre slot and scored Toronto’s first try when he scooped up the ball off a deflected kick.
Toronto’s backline moves were sloppy and resulted in numerous turnovers and lost momentum. In contrast London were sharp and used their control of possession to generate and convert more scoring chances than Toronto.
London winger Rhys Williams broke Toronto’s line down the left flank following a Toronto error and steam rolled a cover-defending Ryan Brierley before crossing over. Wolfpack second rower Andrew Dixon kept the visitors in touch by scoring on a short ball from Brierley.
London capped a strong first half performance with a Sammut field goal to lead by 9 at the break.
Toronto looked to cut London’s lead early into the second half. Brierley only needed to pick up a loose ball to cross over London’s try line untouched but dropped the ball as he attempted to scoop it up one handed. London made Toronto pay as Jordan Johnstone broke through Toronto’s goal line defense, targeting small men Brierley and fullback Laulu-Togaga’e.
The visitors retained possession from the ensuing kickoff after kicking short into a heavy breeze. They then put together an excellent backline move, as Laulu-Togaga’e and winger Liam Kay linked up to bring the match within 11 points. It would be the last highlight for Toronto. Dixon was sent to the sin bin for holding back a London runner chasing a kick.
In spite of being a man down, Toronto threw everything at the London defence, attempting mid field chip and chases and set moves through the hands but they couldn’t break the dominant Broncos. London ran in three more tries unanswered with two tries to Alex Walker and one to Alex Cunningham resulting in a convincing victory for the hosts.
London’s victory maintained their spot on top of the Betfred Championship table and announced them as a serious contender for promotion to Super League. Toronto were displaced from the top 4 and look to rebound against cellar dwelling Swinton Lions.
London Broncos 47
Tries: Pewhairangi (6), Davis (16), Williams (27), Johnstone (52), Walker (63, 78), Cunningham (69)
Goals: Sammut 9/10
Field Goals: Sammut (40)
Toronto Wolfpack 16
Tries: Whiting (19), Dixon (34) and Kay (54)
Goals: Brierley 2/3