Toronto Wolfpack started their Easter double header of fixtures in the best manner possible, securing victory over third placed Featherstone Rovers at LD Nutrition Stadium. It was a breakout performance for star mid-season signing Gareth O’Brien who produced a stunning line break for Ryan Brierley’s second try, looked dangerous for the whole match and fit into Toronto’s structure seamlessly. In contrast, it was an unhappy night for the star offseason signing Josh McCrone who committed several errors and took some poor kicking options. Fellow NRL veteran Chase Stanley made his debut for Toronto in the centres.
A penalty ridden opening gifted the home team first points via a penalty goal, but the Wolfpack were first to score a try when halfback Ryan Brierley hit the post on a grubber and won the race to the ball in the in goal area. Brierley set up the Wolfpack’s next score with a short ball for rangy backrower Richard Whiting to hit the ball at pace into a small gap and drag Featherstone’s defenders across the line.
Whiting made it a double minutes later as he leaped above the Rover defense to catch a cross field bomb and reached the try line under the posts. Featherstone’s attack looked pedestrian. Any efforts to spread the ball resulted in dropped balls and lost momentum. The Rovers’ playmakers also couldn’t produce any dangerous kicks to threaten Toronto’s sturdy goal line defense.
Carrying a 12 point lead into the second half, Toronto were their own worst enemy with numerous errors and penalties inviting Featherstone back into the contest. Following several penalties in a row, Featherstone finally scored through winger Luke Briscoe who steamrolled opposite number Liam Kay and slammed the ball down in the corner.
O’Brien hit back for the Wolfpack by creating a line break out of nothing before setting up Brierley to complete his brace. Cronulla Sharks veteran Misi Taualapapa scored for Featherstone and Briscoe completed a double minutes later, but Featherstone kicker Martyn Ridyrd missed both conversions which ensured Toronto would hold on for victory.
Toulouse Olympique had a surprise victory over the competition leading London Broncos on the same day. In conjunction with Toronto’s victory, this elevated the Wolfpack into second place. The results set up a top of the table clash against Toulouse Olympique on a three day turnaround.
Toronto Wolfpack 24
Brierley (20, 60), Whiting (26, 29)
Featherstone Rovers 16
Briscoe (50, 75), Taulapapa (72)