On a day where temperatures soared at the Lamport Stadium, a crowd of 6,844 witnessed the Toronto Wolfpack make a big statement with a hard fought 46-28 win against a tough opponent in Leigh.
It took nine minutes for Toronto to open the scoring, with Blake Wallace picking up where he left off against Barrow the week before. Gareth O’Brien successfully converted, having been given the nod ahead of Brierley for today’s kicking duties.
Matty Russell broke through the Leigh defence to add to his tally, with O’Brien again adding the two points. A tough battle on the field ensued, and when Toronto won a penalty close to the sticks, they made the decision to have O’Brien add the two points, a decision showing their respect for the opponents.
Wallace got his second of the game on the half hour mark, and just a few minutes later, a bad tackle from Wolfpack’s Corey Paterson saw him earn ten minutes in the sin bin.
With the last play of the half, Russell grabbed his second of the game, crashing over in the corner, but O’Brien would miss the kick to end the half 24-0.
Leigh had no intention of falling by the wayside, and just two minutes into the second half, Ben Crooks found his way through the Toronto line, with Ben Reynolds adding the two points. Leigh thought they had been able to cross once again for a try, but the referee had called the game back for a knock on.
Jack Buchanan would steam roll his way through Leigh, finally being brought down by the sticks, but Andy Ackers would come in and race across the line to halt the Leigh momentum. Wallace then got his third of the game, picking up on the great work from Toronto favourite Liam Kay, shortly followed by Ackers grabbing his second.
Leigh had not given up, and broke through Toronto’s defense with Daniel Mortimer scoring from a twenty metre run in. Reynolds added the two points, and just a few minutes later some quick passing from Leigh would see Kyle Lovett adding points to Leigh, with Reynolds once again adding two.
Tempers flared and frustrations showed, and a moment of disciplinary lapse saw Jake Emmitt and Greg Richards sin binned for their respective teams.
Crooks would get his second of the game, and Mortimer would add another try with just 60 seconds to spare. However, the Leigh comeback was halted with Liam Kay getting himself on the score sheet, with the whistle blowing and Toronto celebrating a 46-28 victory.
WHAT WE’VE LEARNED
The Power of the Pack
This was a game where Toronto wanted to show that they could overpower a top team in the division. Toronto flexed their muscles and showed their strength, choosing to attack Leigh through the middle of the field.
It’s easier to get in to score through the sides, but Toronto crashed through again and again straight through the centre. They have talented wingers, the most notable being leading try scorer Liam Kay, but wanting to go through the centre showed Toronto making a big statement heading into the most important few months of their short history to date.
Toronto learned a Valuable Lesson
Toronto may have come away with a hard fought victory, but it was Leigh Centurions who won the second half. Toronto have been clear leaders at the half-way stage in their last three games; perhaps this had made them complacent .
Leigh have a very talented side and they had every intention of fighting back in this game. Ill discipline could have cost Toronto, with two yellow cards in this match. If this game had been ten minutes longer, it is highly likely that Leigh would have been the victors.
Discipline cost Toronto in the clash against Warrington in the Challenge Cup, and could have easily cost them in this game. With the middle 8’s around the corner and the prospect of Super League ever closer, Toronto will need to work on this if they want to make the successful step to Super League.
Man Of The Match- Blake Wallace (Toronto Wolfpack)
There were a number of players that were in contention for man of the match this week, but for me it was Wallace who was the most positive player on the pitch.
The young Australian half-back has been in great form, and today he was a real spark for Toronto. It felt as if every time Wallace had the ball something positive happened for Toronto. He is a great team player, and leaves today with a great performance and three tries to his name.
Toronto Wolfpack 46
Tries: Blake Wallace 3, Matty Russell 2, Andy Ackers 2, Liam Kay
Goals: Gareth O’Brien 6, Gareth O’Brien penalty
Drop Goals: n/a
Leigh Centurions 28
Tries: Ben Crooks 2, Daniel Mortimer 2, Kyle Lovett
Goals: Ben Reynolds 4
Drop Goals: n/a
Toronto Wolfpack: Gareth O’Brien, Matty Russell, Greg Worthington, Stanley Chase, Liam Kay, Blake Wallace, Ryan Brierley, Darcy Lussick, Robert Beswick, Jacob Emmitt, Corey Paterson, Richard Whiting, Olsi Krasniqi.
Substitutes – Jack Buchanan, Adam Sidlow, Sam Hopkins, Andy Ackers
Leigh Centurions: Ben Crooks, Ben Reynolds, Drew Hutchison, Kevin Larroyer, Bodene Thompson, Harrison Hansen, Liam Hood, Jordan Thompson, Kyle Lovett, Jack Owens, Ricky Bailey, Ilias Bergal, Jordan Baldwinson.
Substitutes – Daniel Mortimer, Greg Richards, Nicholas Gregson, Jack Blagbrough.