Sheffield Eagles failed to crown their return to the Steel City with a much needed victory after a 10-44 defeat to big spending Toronto Wolfpack.
The Eagles remain pointless in the Betfred Championship after their fifth straight loss, in what was always going to be a tough ask for Mark Aston’s new-look outfit, against a side who have ambitions of quickly making the jump into Super League.
After the pre-match fan-fare, the two teams got down to business, with the Eagles matching their full-time opponents during the early stages.
A James Bentley break briefly threatened a potential opening try for the Eagles, before Toronto began to dominate the game. After holding out for 20 minutes, the Eagles were finally breached when former favourite Quentin Laulu-Togagae made the initial break, before Liam Kay grounded in the corner but Ryan Brierley missed the extras.
Veteran Richard Whiting increased Toronto’s advantage when he powered over from close range, and this time Brierley converted.
There was further damage just before the interval when Adam Sidlow squirmed over for the Wolfpack’s third score, with Brierley again converting.
With the Wolfpack threatening to run away with proceedings, the Eagles hit-back just before the interval with their first concerted move on the Toronto line. Skipper Matty James had the honour of the first home try at the OLP after he powered over in front of the sticks, with Oscar Thomas nailing the extras.
Whiting’s high-hit on Cory Aston gave Thomas a chance at goal from half-way right on the hooter, but his strike lacked the legs to further reduce the deficit.
Any potential momentum after the break was cut when Nick Rawsthorne dived over for a converted score in the corner, and the Wolfpack moved further clear through a Blake Wallace try.
Further tries from Jonny Pownall (2) and Whiting put the Wolfpack well clear, whilst James also saw yellow before the end, but it was the Eagles who had the last word when Iliess Macani grounded after a clever pass from Jake Spedding with three minutes remaining.
Eagles: Millar; Lo, Costello, Spedding, Macani; Thomas, Aston; Offerdhal, Burns, Pick; James, Bentley; Fozard. Interchange: Toole, Djalout, Moran, Magrin.
Scorers: Tries: James (38), Macani (76) Goals: Thomas 1/2 , Aston 0/1
Toronto: Laulu-Togagae; Pownall, Worthington, Rawsthorne, Kay; Brierley, McCrone; Buchanan, Beswick, Sims; Dixon, Maitua; Westerman. Interchange: Bussey; Wallace, Sidlow, Whiting.
Scorers: Tries: Kay (21), Whiting (30, 73), Sidlow (33), Rawsthorne (45), Wallace (54), Pownall (60, 65),Goals: Brierley 6/8
Referee: G Dolan