Fax slump again as Toronto march on at the top of the Championship

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There were no miracles at the Shay as Toronto Wolfpack’s expensively assembled Championship favourites crushed Halifax 48-12.

Richard Marshall’s team, who are in the midst of arguably the rockiest spell of their coach’s successful four-and-a-bit year reign, were never really in the contest after a three-try blitz midway through the opening half saw the Canadian side go 18-6 ahead.

The home side, heavily beaten at York a week earlier, were solid early on and by the time the 16th minute arrived they had ground out a 6-0 lead, with centre Steve Tyrer kicking three successful penalties as Toronto found themselves under some pressure.

They very nearly stretched that lead when winger Will Sharp burst clear, but could not find the recalled Quentin Laulu-Togagae on his inside.

But when the Wolfpack did manage to find themselves some attacking space, they were utterly clinical.

Loose forward Jon Wilkin scored their first try with a perfectly timed run close to the ruck and then supplied the pass that sent back rower Andrew Dixon storming away to touchdown, full back Gareth O’Brien adding both conversions as the visitors went 12-6 ahead.

And when half back Blake Wallace rounded off some more slick build up work, O’Brien stretched the lead to 18-6 inside the half hour.

Fax staunched the flow, but Toronto still added the final points of the half, a brilliant pass from O’Brien slipping Matty Russell over for an unconverted try.

That made it 22-6 at the break, although it would have been closer if Fax winger Shaun Robinson had managed to hold Tyrer’s pass on the stroke of half time with the line beckoning.

The second half was largely one-way traffic as Toronto clicked up a gear, with Dixon, Blake Wallace and Nick Rawsthorne all touching down inside the opening 15 minutes to blow the score out to a decisive 36-6.

Dixon then completed his hat-trick and Russell added a second as the visitors rolled over their hosts in ruthless fashion.

Fax gained some consolation with Ed Barber’s late try, converted by Tyrer, but next weekend’s break from Championship action will be welcome for a team that seems to be at something of a crossroads.

Halifax: Laulu-Togagae; Sharp, Tyrer, Saltonstall, Robinson; Murrell, Johnston; Kavanagh, Kaye, Fairbank, Larroyer, Grady, Grix. Subs: Fleming, Barber, Moore, Morris

Toronto: O’Brien; Logan, Rawsthorne, Leutele, Russell; Wallace, McCrone; Springer, Ackers, Sidlow, Dixon, Olbison, Wilkin. Subs: Simms, Lussick, Mullally, Brierley

Referee: L. Moore

Attendance: 2,090