Featherstone Rovers lose out to Toronto Wolfpack despite brave effort

Connor Jones, try on his debut for Featherstone Rovers.
Connor Jones, try on his debut for Featherstone Rovers.

Featherstone Rovers put up a tremendous effort, but were not quite able to repeat their historic win at Toronto Wolfpack as they lost 22-18.

Ryan Carr’s men were behind from the second minute and never closer than four points behind throughout the game, but produced a spirited effort.

Toronto got off to a flying start with a goalline drop-out forced on the first set then a try coming inside two minutes with full-back Gareth O’Brien charging through a gap after combining with half-backs Joe Mellor and Josh McCrone.

The conversion by O’Brien made it 6-0 before Featherstone had laid a hand on the ball.

Rovers gradually eased their way into the contest and went close when Jack Bussey attempted to power over from close range, but lost the ball in a tackle.

Toronto went down to 12 men for 10 minutes when Darcy Lussick was sin-binned for throwing a series of punches on Bussey. He was lucky that it was just a yellow card not a red, especially as the Featherstone man played no further part in the game.

Rovers could not take advantage of their extra man and it was the hosts who scored again with O’Brien kicking a penalty to make it 8-0.

Fev did go close round the half-hour mark when debutant Connor Jones twice inside a minute was inches short on determined runs, only desperate defence keeping him out.

But after Jon Wilkin’s kick earned Toronto a drop-out they scored their second try. Chase Stanley burrowed underneath several tacklers to plant the ball down over the line and O’Brien’s conversion made it 14-0 at half-time.

Featherstone made a great start to the second half as they forced a drop-out after pushing Anthony Mullally back over his own line.

They then put their first points on the board as Jack Ormondroyd produced a determined solo effort, brushing off two would-be tacklers to charge over.

Will Dagger tagged on the extras.

Wolfpack were over again when Ricky Leutele raced over on the end of a classy left edge move.

But Rovers showed good spirit as they forced their way back into the contest again and Josh Walters produced a strong finish after taking Callum McLelland’s pass. With Dagger goaling they were back to within six points.

Toronto were over once more when Josh McCrone found a gap to race in, but it was not all over as Wellington Albert’s clean break was backed up by Jones, who went over for a try on his first Featherstone appearance.

Dagger added the conversion from under the posts and at 22-18 Rovers were really making a game of it.

Great defence kept Nick Rawsthorne out as he went for the corner for the hosts. But it did not matter as Fev could not make anything of their late possession and ultimately lost a close contest.

Scorers - Toronto: Tries O’Brien, Stanley, Leutele, McCrone; goals O’Brien 3. Featherstone: Tries Ormondroyd, Walters, Jones; goals Dagger 3.

Toronto Wolfpack: O’Brien; Kay, Stanley, Leutele, Rawsthorne; Mellor, McCrone; Lussick, Ackers, Mullally, Dixon, Olbison, Wilkin. Subs: Beswick, Sims, Springer, Worthington.

Featherstone Rovers: Golding; Render, Carey, Hardcastle, Briscoe; Dagger, McLelland; Harrison, Bussey, Albert, Walters, Day, Lockwood. Subs: Cooper, Makatoa, Ormondroyd, Jones.

Referee: Jack Smith.

Half-time: 14-0.

Attendance: 7,819.