Wolfpack ride 2nd-half outburst to remain undefeated this season
Andy Ackers paces attack with pair of tries against previously unbeaten Vikings
The Toronto Wolfpack scored three tries in 10 minutes in the second half to break open a tight game and dispatch previously unbeaten Widnes Vikings 30-6 in Betfred Championship rugby league play Saturday.
The win moved Toronto (3-0-0) into first place in the standings ahead of Sheffield Eagles (3-0-0) on points difference. Sheffield won 24-10 over Bradford Bulls (2-1-0) on Friday in another battle of unbeaten teams.
Toronto opened the season with road wins over the York City Knights (14-0) and Rochdale Hornets (58-6). Widnes downed Halifax RLFC 40-16 and won 36-24 at Toulouse.
WATCH | The Wolfpack stay undefeated with win over the Vikings:
Saturday's neutral site game at Kingston Park Stadium in Newcastle, England, was part of a doubleheader. Doncaster RLFC defeated Newcastle Thunder 32-26 in the earlier third-tier League 1 game.
Andy Ackers had two tries and Blake Wallace, Gary Wheeler and Ricky Leutele added single tries for Toronto, which led 8-0 at the half. Gareth O'Brien kicked four conversions and a penalty.
Brad Walker scored a consolation try for Widnes in the 75th minute. Jack Owens added the conversion.
Toronto has conceded just two tries in three games, outscoring its opponent by a combined 102-12.
Second half we ran out of bodies and we ran out of subs as well.— Widnes Vikings head coach Kieron Purtill
"We're still a bit rough through some areas that we have to work on but we're getting there," said Leutele.
Widnes (2-1-0) started strongly but eventually was beaten back by Toronto's stifling defence and its pace and power on offence.
The game was a reunion of sorts for former Widnes players Joe Mellor and Tom Olbison, who both joined Toronto after the Vikings were relegated last season. Widnes dropped out of the Super League after a 20-12 loss to the Wolfpack in the Super 8s Qualifiers last September.
O'Brien and Adam Sidlow also had past stints at Widnes.
Gadwin Springer, a French international forward who signed from Castleford in the off-season, made his first start for Toronto.
The game was somewhat of an arm wrestle early on, with neither side able to take advantage. But Toronto went ahead in the 14th minute when Widnes winger Ryan Ince fumbled a towering kick from Jon Wilkin near the Vikings goal-line. Wallace picked the ball up and raced in untouched for the try.
O'Brien's penalty made it 8-0 in the 24th minute after an Anthony Gelling high tackle ended a rampaging run by Leutele, who won an NRL title with the Cronulla Sharks in Australia prior to joining Toronto.
Widnes winger Olly Ashall-Bott had to be helped off late in the half after landing awkwardly on his ankle in a tackle. Widnes' Danny Craven had to leave for a head injury assessment in the second half after getting the worst of an attempted tackle on Wheeler.
The Wolfpack had some early chances in the second half but failed to convert. Toronto forward Darcy Lussick came close but was judged to have been stopped just short of the goal-line.
A line-break by Lussick set the scene for Toronto's second try in the 49th minute. The big Australian passed to Wilkin just before being tackled and Wilkin fed Ackers for the score. O'Brien's conversion increased the lead to 14-0.
Five minutes later, Wheeler touched down in the corner for another try, getting the ball down despite losing his footing as he neared the line. Leutele scored in the same corner in the 59th after four rapid-fire passes along the backline.
Ackers collected his second try in the 71st minute, breaking several tackles.
Toronto plays at Leigh next Sunday.