Show tie as the Toronto Wolfpack rugby league team is back in town

This article was last updated on April 16, 2022

Toronto Wolfpack rugby league team finally brought its show back to Lamport Stadium. On the field, the business was taken care of by a 52-10 scoreline over the Swinton Lions. But the bigger story came at the gate where 9,562 went through the doors, not only breaking the team’s record of 9,246 set in the Million Pound Game last October, but also eclipsing by nearly 400 fans the all-time regular-season record for a game in the English league’s second tier. And there’s every possibility of filling the simple downtown stadium for every home game might be the norm rather than the exception.

“There’s definitely no atmosphere like this,” forward Darcy Lussick said. “To be back in Toronto and for the fans to get behind us, this is so good.”

“The crowd and the venue were great,” first-year head coach Brian McDermott, making his own Toronto debut said. “They were fantastic, the crowd, really understand the sport, and that’s a fantastic number, nine and a half thousand.”

The Wolfpack gave them plenty to enjoy, playing a flowing style of offense that moved the ball from side-to-side. The Lions, who brought a small traveling pack of supporters, limited Toronto early but were outclassed from the latter part of the first half on.

“To be fair today, I thought we were pretty clinical throughout the game,” McDermott said.

After Gareth O’Brien opened the scoring, Blake Wallace scored a fine try with a last-tackle evading of two Lions defenders. After Matty Ashton completed a 95-metre play to put Swinton on the board, Bodene Thompson and Andy Ackers extended the Wolfpack lead. Wallace took a hard shot late in the first half, earning a penalty. It was a shot that would knock out most guys but the tough Australian shook it off and finished the half with a long penalty kick to give Toronto a 24-6 lead at the break.

The Wolfpack put the game away with five tries in the second period, spearheaded by a 35-metre run by Andrew Dixon. After Ricky Leutele and Tom Olbison scored, Wallace pounced on a well-placed kick for a second score. Adam Higson finished the Wolfpack scoring. Mike Butt got a late score for the visitors who at least head back overseas knowing they inflicted some bruises on the Toronto players.  

“We hit our straps in the second half,” McDermott said. “But respect to Swinton. They made it a contest physically.”

The Wolfpack (11-1) will get back to action on Saturday at Lamport Stadium against the Bradford Bulls.

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