Blake Wallace's hat trick leads Wolfpack past Leigh
Toronto extends Betfred Championship win streak to 15
Blake Wallace scored three tries as the Toronto Wolfpack defeated Leigh Centurions 46-28 on Saturday and extended their Betfred Championship winning streak to 15 straight matches in rugby league play.
Toronto (17-1-1) led 24-0 at the half on a steamy day before an announced crowd of 6,844 at Lamport Stadium. But Leigh (12-7-0) rallied in the second half with five tries, outscoring Toronto 28-22 in the final 40 minutes.
The game saw three yellow cards — to Toronto's Jake Emmitt and Cory Paterson and Leigh's Greg Richards.
League-leading Toronto had more muscle and creativity in the first half than Leigh, which suffered its third loss of the season at the hands of the rival Wolfpack. Wallace led the way in the back, scoring one try on a beautiful show-and-go that froze the Leigh defence.
Toronto's all-time record now stands at 41-4-2 in league and Cup play over two seasons. It has yet to lose at Lamport Stadium.
Leigh, which came into the weekend in sixth place, had won 11 of its last 12 league matches with the lone blemish a 28-26 loss in May.
Toronto also got two tries from both Matty Russell and Andy Ackers and a single from Liam Kay.
Gareth O'Brien kicked six conversions — one hit a passing streetcar on King Street while another bounced off the hood of a white SUV in the parking lot — and also connected on a penalty.
Leigh's rally not enough
Ben Crooks and Daniel Mortimer each had two tries for Leigh with a single going to Kyle Lovett. Ben Reynolds kicked four conversions.
Paterson was sin-binned late in the first half after a melee under the Leigh goalposts. Emmitt and Richards sat for 10 minutes in the second half after another altercation.
Down 24-0 at the half, Leigh came out strong to open the second half with an early converted try. Toronto replied with three straight tries for a 40-6 lead before Leigh, taking advantage of some ragged defence, reeled off four tries of its own to cut the margin to 40-28 before Kay scored the final try of the day.
As they did last season in the third-tier League 1, the Wolfpack have dominated play in the second-tier Betfred Championship. They have not lost in league play since a 47-16 loss at the at London Broncos on Feb. 25.
Former Toronto captain Craig Hall and Ryan Bailey, who was cut by Toronto earlier this year after a training camp transgression, did not make the trip with Leigh.
Signs of bad blood were not obvious before the match as Rowley and Leigh coach Kieron Purtill chatted amicably on the pitch.
The Wolfpack lost Greg Worthington in the first half to a blow to the head with the Toronto physio having to chase the centre around the pitch to convince him to leave the field. Worthington did not return.
Toronto was without Adam Higson, Bussey, Ashton Sims and Gary Wheeler. Josh McCrone returned to Australia for the birth of his child.
The Wolfpack's next game is against the Sheffield Eagles on July 7 in Toronto. CBC Sports will live stream every Wolfpack league game this season.