Featherstone Rovers 16-24 Toronto Wolfpack
In the second leg of Get ’em Onside’s Good Friday of rugby, Toronto Wolfpack reigned supreme at Post Office Road as they overtook their hosts in the Betfred Championship table following a 24-16 victory. The match itself promised to be something of a spectacle but, perhaps due to the difficult conditions, it turned out to be an error strewn affair.
What was initially clear was that the hosts wanted points on the board; Martin Ridyard’s first early penalty attempt was unsuccessful but he did convert another on six minutes to give Featherstone the lead. They held that lead until Ryan Brierley crossed and converted his own try to take control of the match. Another Ridyard penalty cut the Wolfpack lead to just two points before Featherstone-born Richard Whiting crossed for a brace of quick tries. Fighting off interest from Rovers defenders in the right corner, he got the ball down over the line. Just three minutes later he was the man in position to reach a kick to centre field and, despite looking offside, got to the ball first and – after juggling briefly – grounded the ball under the posts, Brierley converting to give the Canadians a 16-4 half time lead.
Early in the second half, in form winger Luke Briscoe equalled the club record for tries in consecutive matches after he grounded superbly in the corner. Ridyard missed the conversion to leave the score at 16-8 before Brierley put a penalty over to stretch the visitors’ lead to ten points. That, however, was about to be extended further.
After a strong defensive set from Featherstone, late in the count the line was broken and the ball was worked out to the right edge. Offering a strong support line, Gareth O’Brien took advantage of the space afforded to him and, following the conversion, the game seemed to be out of Rovers’ reach at 24-8. However, this Featherstone team have started the season strongly and weren’t about to let their unbeaten home record go without a fight.
A long pass out from on loan Leeds centre Harry Newman saw the impressive Misi Taulapapa cross and, when Briscoe crossed yet again on the opposite flank, the game was closer once more. However, it wasn’t to be for Rovers and the Wolfpack, in truth, didn’t look like losing the game once they’d taken the lead.
Featherstone Rovers: Hardman, Briscoe, Hardcastle, Newman, Taulapapa, Ridyard, Holmes, Hock, Carlile, Knowles, Farrell, Davies, Lockwood
Interchanges: Wildie, Cooper, Brooks, Mariano
Toronto Wolfpack: O’Brien, Pownall, Stanley, Worthington, Kay, McCrone, Brierley, Emmitt, Ackers, Sims, Bussey, Whiting, Hopkins
Interchanges: Maitua, Wallace, Sidlow, Buchanan