It may have been a wet and miserable day in Toronto, but that didn’t stop the Wolfpack running riot against a depleted Barrow team, with Paul Rowley’s team coming away with a 64-0 victory.
Barrow were only able to name one player as an interchange, so from the start you knew that it was going to be a long day for them. They had to call on making a change much quicker than they expected, with Barrow halfback Ryan Johnston having to come off after just 55 seconds with injury.
Things got off to a good start from a Wolfpack perspective, with Liam Kay going over for his first of two tries in the game. Gareth O’Brien struggled with his kicks today, but was able to successfully convert on his own try a few minutes after Kay went over.
Toronto looked a league above Barrow, tearing through the defence consistently, and in quick succession Blake Wallace was able to get two tries, with Bob Beswick also going over just before the half ended. Wolfpack went in at the half-time interval 24-0 up, with Barrow seemingly glad to hear the whistle.
Things did not get any better for Barrow, who looked tired and sluggish at every break in play, the numerical mismatch presumably catching up with them.
Nick Rawsthorne opened the proceedings in the second half, with the fullback crashing through the defence to add to the scoreline. Things got a lot tougher for Barrow, as Wallace would cross for his third try of the match, and Matty Russell also broke through in the corner before being allowed to run to within a yard of the sticks.
Barrow looked ready to head to the airport, but with seconds to spare, Adam Sidlow would make this a day that Barrow would want to truly forget as he crashed across the line, finishing the game with a scoreline of 64-0 after O’Brien would kick his seventh successful kick from 10 attempts.
Whilst this victory does not change positions for either team in the league, it does mean that Toronto have stretched their undefeated streak to 14 consecutive games.
WHAT WE’VE LEARNED
The Wolfpack are Preparing for Playoffs
If you were to ask the team how much effort they put in today, you could expect them to say around sixty percent. They never really stepped out of second gear, which with no disrespect to Barrow, they never really needed to.
With the first place in the Championship essentially secured, you feel that the Toronto team are now saving themselves for the playoffs, making sure that they get to the middle 8’s with as many injury-free players as possible.
The game against Leigh will be a telling one, and it will be interesting to see if Paul Rowley puts out a full strength side, and how much the team are willing to give in a game that, in all honesty, they don’t need to win.
Ashton Sims is a Perfect Vice Captain
I had the honour of sitting at the game alongside Gary Wheeler, Ryan Brierley, Chase Stanley and vice-captain Ashton Sims. Whilst the players watched the game from the stands, some of them would be on their phones and some of them would be looking for friends and family in the crowds- Sims barely took his eyes off the game.
At half time, the players went down to the dressing room a few moments before the whistle, yet Sims refused to even walk down the stairs until the whistle had gone. He showed his intensity and his passion for the team, and it showed the pride that he has in this team.
Man Of The Match- Blake Wallace (Toronto Wolfpack)
With three tries to his name today, for me he was a clear winner of this honour. Not only did he cause problems to Barrow going forward, he constantly put in high kicks that Barrow struggled with due to the greasy conditions.
This was arguably the Australian halfback’s best performance for Toronto; he clearly enjoyed the day and I am sure that a few of the Barrow players will be having nightmares tonight of the number 17 running toward them with the ball in hand.
Toronto Wolfpack 64
Tries: Liam Kay 2, Gareth O’Brien, Blake Wallace 3, Bob Beswick, Nick Rawsthorne 2, Matty Russell, Adam Sidlow, Andy Ackers
Goals: Gareth O’Brien 7
Drop Goals: n/a
Barrow Raiders 0
Drop Goals: n/a
Toronto Wolfpack: Kay, O’Brien, Wallace, Beswick, Rawsthorne, Worthington, McCrone, Buchanan, Dixon, Ackers, Krasniqi, Paterson, Russell. Substitutes – Lussick, Sidlow, Whiting, Emmitt
Barrow Raiders: Fleming, Gauge, Toal, Dallimore, Bullock, Mossop, Stack, Ashall, Susino, Johnston, Morrow, Smith, Duffy. Substitutes – While.