With the Betfred Super League already underway, Sunday saw the opening round of a very competitive looking Betfred Championship, with all fourteen sides in action. New boys, the York City Knights, had the honour of welcoming the Toronto Wolfpack to a freezing Bootham Crescent as the Canadian side looked to begin their campaign with a victory.

It would have been difficult for Toronto to put last seasons last match disappointment in the Million Pound Game behind them, but with the ultra-successful Brian McDermott taking over as head coach, and a large churn in playing staff, it was likely that the Knights would be up against it in their opening fixture, despite home advantage and a big partisan crowd to welcome them to Championship One life.

The visitors edged the opening exchanges but it was a good showing from the Knights, who were definitely not overawed by the circumstances, as the two teams sized one another up.

The Knights line was being bombarded around the twenty-minute mark when Gary Wheeler opened the scoring for the Wolfpack finding space on the overlap to take a Chase Stanley pass and ground under the tackle. Gareth O’Brien pushed his kick across the front of the posts from wide, Tornoto with a hard-earned 4-0 lead.

As the half wore on York were visibly tiring but an excellent last man defence managed to thwart the Toronto attack and protect their line until the interval. York were proving that they weren’t going to be the Championship whipping boys in 2019.

The opening twenty-eight minutes of the second half were all about Yorks defence through a herculean effort. But the Toronto battering finally tool its toll when Matty Russell had space on the overlap to score in the right corner as for once Yorks defence failed to slide. O’Brien was again unable to add the extras, the visitors with an 8-0 lead but they knew that they’d been in a game.

Two minutes from time the Wolfpack scored a third through Joe Mellor, picking up a Gareth O’Brioen grubber on the line and grounding under the tackle by the left upright. O’Brien added the conversion for a scoreline of 14-0, a little harsh on the hosts after an excellent defensive effort.

Toronto came into the game as big favourites but York proved that they aren’t just in the Championship to make up the numbers as they defended brilliantly against a side expected to go all the way to the play-off final and to secure a Super League spot in 2020. Coach McDermott will be relatively happy that his side kept a clean sheet but it has given him plenty of food for thought in the weeks ahead.

Knights: Marsh, Robson, Bass, Hey, Whiteley, Cockayne, Robinson, Horne, Jubb, Teanby, Jordan-Roberts, Salter, Peterson. Subs: Brinning, Blagbrough, Dixon, Porter.

Wolfpack: O’Brien (G), Russell (T), Stanley, Leutele, Wheeler (T), Mellor (T), McCrone, Sims, Ackers, Olbison, Dixon, Thompson, Wilkin.  Subs: Wallace, Sidlow, Lussick, Springer.

Referee: Gareth Hewer.

Half-Time: 0-4.

Full-Time: 0-14.

Attendance: .


All views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of the RLFANS.COM or its subsites.

Copyright 1999 - 2019 RLFANS.COM

You must be 18+ to gamble, for more information and for help with gambling issues see https://www.begambleaware.org/.