Sunday 7 October 2018

Toronto Wolfpack 2, London Broncos 4, Lamport Stadium, Toronto, ON

The Toronto Wolfpack RLFC is a Canadian professional rugby league club, based in here Toronto, which competes in the British Rugby Football League system.  In 2018, the club competed in the Championship, having begun to play in 2017 in League 1 and won a promotion in its inaugural season.  Gord and I are season ticket holders.

The club is noted as being the first North American team to play in the Rugby Football League system, the first fully professional rugby league team in Canada and the world's first transatlantic rugby league team.  Their home stadium is Lamport Stadium (aka "The Den"), which is just a couple blocks from where Gord and I live.

At the end of the regular season, the bottom four teams in Super League play the top four teams in the Championship in a league of eight. The top three teams get a place in Super League while teams finishing fourth and fifth play each other for the final Super League place.  Whoever wins advances to the Supers 8s and the loser stays in the Championship.

Today the Wolfpack were playing the London Broncos in the Million Pound Game ... an annual playoff game between the two teams finishing in fourth (Toronto) and fifth (London) in the Super 8s Qualifiers.  Personally I think this is a stupid rule ... if team is one of the top four teams, they should advance to the Super League rather than having to play the fifth place team to re-earn their spot.  It will be a non-issue next year as the bottom team in the Super League automatically moves to the Championship and the top team in the Championship automatically moves to the Super League.  If this year was next year, the Wolfpack would have automatically moved to the Super League since they finished in first place.

Gord and I got there about 12:30pm when the doors open (the game started at 2pm) so we could get the seats we usually sit in.  Austin Delaney from CTV News was interviewing players.

Since it was Thanksgiving, the Wolfpack were asking for donations of food for the Daily Bread Food Bank (we brought some).

Here are Gord and I before the game in our Wolfpack gear.

Our friends, Mary and Malcolm joined us.  Our friend, Trish, was also supposed to join us but she wasn't feeling well.

Gord, Malcolm and Mary

Jefferson, the Wolfpack mascot, worked the crowd.

Me and Jefferson
Here come the Wolfpack!

God Save the Queen and O Canada were sung before the game by Conor Murphy.

And the game began ...

There was a record breaking crowd of almost 9,300 at today's game!

At the end of the first half, London was winning 2 - 0.

Because it was Thanksgiving, a "turkey" ran onto the field protesting with a sign and Jefferson and the Wolfpack Pack took care of business.

And the second half began ...

Bob Beswick, a Wolfpack player, was hurt in the final seconds of the game

London won the game 4 - 2 and advances to the Super League.  Needless to say, they were super excited.

No surprise that there was disappointment among the Wolfpack players.

London was presented with their award for being the winners.

Jefferson, the Wolfpack cheerleaders and some staff posed for one last picture.

Some of the players interacted with their fans.

Wolfpack coach, Paul Rowley, was interviewed after the game.

As always, the beer garden was a popular spot after the game.

It was a fun season.   Gord and I have already renewed our season tickets for 2019 and we look forward to the Wolfpack advancing to the Super League in 2019!

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