South Coast pair help Toronto Wolfpack claim Betfred Championship title

Ashton Sims holds up the Betfred Championship League Leaders trophy. Photo: Joel Levy

Ashton Sims holds up the Betfred Championship League Leaders trophy. Photo: Joel Levy

THE Toronto Wolfpack, featuring Gerirngong’s Ashton Sims and Culburra’s Jack Buchanan, were crowned as the Betfred Championship League Leaders, thanks to a comprehensive victory over the Sheffield Eagles.

The 16th win in a row guarantees the Wolfpack, who have now claimed three pieces of silverware in two seasons, top spot in the Championship with three games to spare, and crucially a play off schedule of four home games in Toronto and three away games in the UK and/or France.

The post game schedule will be confirmed in early August.

The Wolfpack were simply dominant from start to finish and combined a controlled and patient first half with a completely clinical second half performance to earn their 18th win of the league campaign and confirmed their status as the most consistent side in the division.

Toronto have defended the Den admirably since touching back down in Canada only five weeks ago, after months on the road, and have now scored over 60 points in three of their last four outings.

Sheffield produced a battling first half performance, but Toronto made amends from last week’s second half defensive lapses against Leigh by shutting the Eagles out and scoring 40 unanswered points after half-time to kick off the celebrations in style.

Ashton Sims and Adam Higson made successful returns from injury and had plenty of impact, with the former holding the League Leaders Shield aloft after the game as Toronto ensured that they will have four more home games once the all important Super 8s kick off in three weeks’ time.

Toronto coach Paul Rowley was happy not only to secure the silverware but was ultimately satisfied with an 80 minute performance from his side. 

Ashton Sims takes a hit up against the Sheffield Eagles. Photo: Joel Levy

Ashton Sims takes a hit up against the Sheffield Eagles. Photo: Joel Levy

“It’s good to get the silverware in the manner we did. I thought it was a very polished performance and we were up near 100% completions in the second half which is always good,” Rowley said.

“I’m really happy for the boys. It’s reward for all their hard work and leads us in well to the real business end of the season in the Middle 8s.”

Rowley remained focused on the task in hand for 2018, admitting that the immediate focus was preparing for the play offs in the march towards promotion. 

“We like a party over here but we won’t get carried away, we know there is still business to be done this year,” he said.

Man of the match Liam Kay was happy with the achievements of his team mates after the game but echoed the thoughts of his coach, with the League Leaders Shield a stepping stone towards their ultimate goal. 

“In the second half we were very consistent, and it was nice to get over for a break away try at the end there,” Kay said.

“We came top of League 1 last year and we’ve finished top of the Championship this year so that is a big indication of where the club is going and hopefully we’ll get the bigger one at the end of the year which is ultimately the Super League.”