Toronto Wolfpack searched for their first Super League victory as they faced St Helens at the Halliwell Jones Stadium, with the Champions looking to bounce back from the World Club Challenge defeat last weekend
At the start of the game, the Wolfpack made three errors to give the Saints back-to-back sets and after hammering at the Wolfpack defence, picked up the first try of the evening.
Jonny Lomax picked the ball up at first receiver and stepped inside former Saints man Jon Wilkin and slid under the posts for the score.
After the Wolfpack’s kick-off went directly into touch, Saints attempted to pick up a quick second but Jack Welsby was caught on the last to let Toronto off the hook.
Toronto were attempting to get involved in the game but unfortunately whenever they shifted the ball wide the ball was hitting the deck in horrid conditions.
It was a case of deja vu for Saints second try as Lomax once again received the ball at first receiver and instead of Wilkin being left stranded it was Anthony Mullally in no-mans land and Lomax slid over again.
A knock-on from Tony Gigot gave Saints another chance to extend their lead and once again showed why they are the reigning Champions. Straight from the scrum, Theo Fages popped the ball to a hard running James Bentley, who broke through the line and was under the posts to score.
All three tries were converted by Tommy Makinson for an 0-18 scoreline after 30 minutes.
Just before the 35th minute, James Bentley took a heavy knock to his left ankle in a tackle by Josh McCrone and unfortunately the try-scorer had to leave the field.
Further errors from the Canadian side meant that Saints could keep up the assault on their try-line, fortunately for the Wolfpack, McCrone managed to hold Zeb Taia off the ground to keep the scoreline to three converted scores.
The Wolfpack went on to concede a penalty 30 metres from their own line, and Makinson added the two points for a 20-point lead for the away side.
HALF-TIME: Toronto Wolfpack 0-20 St Helens
The first ten minutes of the second half didn’t bring any scores but the Wolfpack were still struggling with the wet weather conditions with plenty of dropped balls and loose passes.
Their ill-discipline was also causing them plenty of strife as Saints charged towards the try-line once more.
However, Saints were also found keeping hold of the ball slightly tough as they failed to punish the Wolfpack.
It didn’t take long for the away-side to extend their lead though, as a charging run from Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook was too much for the Toronto defence as he grounded the ball under the posts just before the hour mark.
In their previous 92 matches, The Wolfpack were yet to be nilled and were adamant that Saints wouldn’t be the first, but in their first trip inside the Saints 20-metre line, Bodene Thompson kicked early on the third tackle as they couldn’t quite make any inroads.
Things went from bad to worse for Toronto as Bodene Thompson was shown a straight red card for a shoulder charge to the head of Matty Lees
This was followed up by a fifth Saints try, with Aaron Smith, who had replaced James Roby at hooker, twisted and turned through four Toronto defenders to score.
A ruthless Saints refused to lie down an ease to the full-time hooter and taught the Wolfpack just how tough rugby league can be at the top.
Luke Thompson was the beneficiary this time as he ran over the top of Hakim Miloudi to score. However, the play was bought back for an obstruction on the French back.
This was the final action of the game, with Toronto kept to zero for the first time in their history. The result also pushes Saints up to second behind Castleford.
FULL-TIME: Toronto Wolfpack 0-32 St Helens
Men of the Match: Jonny Lomax
The England international half-back was key at the start of the match to push Saints into their early lead. He picked up a brace of tries to open the scoring but his kicking game pinned the Wolfpack back into their own half and unable to escape due to the Saints defensive efforts. The way Lomax and half-back partner Theo Fages are playing allows Jack Welsby more freedom at full-back and it is a key factor in Saints consistently being at the top of the table.
Gigot, Kay, Wallace, Leutele, Russell, O’Brien, McCrone, Sidlow, Ackers, Springer, B. Thompson, Williams, Wilkin.
Interchanges: Mullaly, Olbison, Miloudi, Wells
Red Cards: B. Thompson
Welsby, Makinson, Naiqama, Bentley, Grace, Lomax, Fages, Walmsley, Roby, L. Thompson, Taia, Peyroux, Knowlers
Interchanges: Lees, McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Paulo, Smith
Tries: Lomax (2), Bentley, McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Smith
Goals: Makinson (6/6)
Referee: M. Griffiths
Touch Judges: S. Mikalauskas, J. Smith
Video Referee: T. Grant