Toronto Wolfpack look to bounce back after lopsided loss to Toulouse

By The Canadian Press
March 15, 2019 - 3:00pm

The Toronto Wolfpack may top the Betfred Championship standings but the transatlantic rugby league team is still smarting from a 46-16 beatdown in Toulouse last week.

The Wolfpack (5-1-0) look to get back on track Sunday when they meet the 11th-place Batley Bulldogs (1-5-0) at KCOM Craven Park in Hull, England. 

Assistant coach Simon Finnigan says not much had to be said in the wake of the ugly loss which saw Toulouse, trailing by 10 at the break, reel off 40 unanswered points in the second half.

"The message was pretty easy," said the former Irish international. "I mean, they're professional players, they know when they've had a game where they've not lived up to their standards — or reach the standards that they set themselves as a group."

A video review of the game was hard watching.

"You don't always have to say too much because a picture can tell a 1,000 words. They know where they went wrong. We've reinforced it," said Finnigan. "They're ready to go again."

It marked the first defeat after five wins for new Wolfpack coach Brian McDermott, and just the ninth ever in competitive play for Toronto (54-9-2) over three seasons.

"We came up against a very good Toulouse side. We were nowhere near what we needed to be," said Finnigan. "And when you're nowhere near what you need to be, you get burned."

Toulouse has now won four straight after losing its first two games of the season.

There were worrying signs the week before the Toulouse game when the Wolfpack needed three late tries to beat Dewsbury Rams 22-17.

Toronto's previous loss was even more painful — a 4-2 setback last October at the hands of the visiting London Broncos in the so-called Million Pound Game, the promotion showdown that ended the Wolfpack's bid to climb into the Super League.

Batley has lost its last two outings, including a 44-16 defeat at the hands of the second-place Sheffield Eagles.

But Finnigan says don't underestimate the Bulldogs.

"They're a physical team ... Anyone that's played Batley before (knows) you don't have an easy game against them."

"We're expecting another battle," he added.

Toronto won the two previous meeting between the two in 2018: 64-18 at home and 26-18 at Batley. 

Toronto fullback Gareth O'Brien needs four points to reach 1,000 for a career that dates back to 2012. He has scored 234 of those for the Wolfpack.

Toronto, which has a small but talented squad, has been hit hard by injuries in recent weeks but could get forward Adam Sidlow and centre Chase Stanley back.


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Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press

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