TORONTO — Captain Craig Hall scored four tries and 38 points Saturday as the unbeaten Toronto Wolfpack ran roughshod over their latest transatlantic visitor, pounding the Hemel Stags 74-16.
It was first versus worst in the standings with the fully professional Wolfpack beating up another team of part-timers in the Kingstone Press League 1, the third tier of English rugby league where Toronto (15-0-0) has had to start life.
Hemel (1-14-0) was outgunned but made the most of Toronto errors before a Wolfpack-record crowd of 7,247 at Lamport Stadium. The Wolfpack padded their lead with six unanswered second-half tries.
"We started phenomenally well, really aggressive," said coach Paul Rowley. "It came a little bit easy and we took our foot off the gas. But credit to Hemel. I thought their courage and endeavour brought them into the game. And every point they scored they deserved. I've got a lot of respect for how they applied themselves today.
"But ultimately, again 70-something points (scored). We finished the league undefeated, the regular season."
Toronto has the week off before starting the Super 8s round of playoffs, which features the top eight sides in the league. The teams, who carry their points forward, play each other with the eventual leader earning promotion to the second-tier Championship.
The second- and third-place teams then meet to decide the second promoted team.
The Wolfpack will play their first three games of the round in England before hosting the final four. Their next home game is Aug. 19.
"We will have to be better," Rowley said of the next challenge.
Rowley used the post-game news conference to officially sign Victoria teenager Quinn Ngawati to a contract. The 18-year-old made his debut last weekend.
Toronto raced out to an 18-0 lead after just 10 minutes but several handling errors later in the half slowed its scoring. Hemel had trouble getting anywhere near the Wolfpack goal-line but managed to breach the home defence on several occasions when it did.
Toronto led 32-10 at the half on a warm sunny afternoon interrupted at times by roaring engines at the Honda Indy Toronto a few blocks south
Blake Wallace, returning from an ankle injury, had three tries for Toronto with Jonny Pownall, Liam Kay, Bob Beswick, Steve Crossley, Fuifui Moimoi and Dan Fleming adding singles.
Hall kicked 11 conversions. Pownall was sinbinned in the second half.
Marcus Elliott, Mark Barlow and Jack O'Brien scored tries for Hemel. Mitch Vincent booted two conversions.
The game ended with a skirmish after Toronto centre Greg Worthington lashed out while being tackled and caught a Stags player in the face.
Moimoi was a one-man wrecking ball for the Wolfpack, battering his way through the Stags' defensive line.
The Stags lost their first 12 matches of the season, including an 82-0 thrashing by second-placed Barrow — a team Toronto thumped 70-2.
The Wolfpack came into the game having outscored its opposition 842-141 while 16th-place Hemel had been outscored 718-213. Hall, with 336 points, has outscored the Stags on the season by himself.
Hall upped his season tries total to 20.
Toronto was without the injured Ryan Brierley, Andrew Dixon, Quentin Laulu-Togaga'e, Sean Penkywicz, Ryan Bailey and Gary Wheeler. Richard Whiting was at a funeral.
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Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press