Toronto Wolfpack 62 Barrow Raiders 8

Despite the best efforts of a shorthanded Barrow Raiders side, they couldn’t delay what had become the inevitable at Toronto Wolfpack; their relegation to League One.

When Barrow took the field on Saturday afternoon in Toronto, the season-long fight with injuries had caught up to them.

With a number of players missing due to health, bans or visa issues, the Raiders had just one available interchange against the top-of-the table Wolfpack, wit Jordan Walne being unable to take part.

And things started quickly for the league leaders, as a knock-on in the first minute set up Toronto from 20 metres out. Captain Josh McCrone would eventually break the line, opening the scoring with Gareth O’Brien hitting the conversion.

From there, Barrow played Toronto tight for the next ten minutes, forcing a pair of turnovers. They were able to get into a good scoring position, but Wartovo Puara was held up.

Following a Wolfpack drop-out, another penalty against the home side left Paul Crarey with a decision. Barrow took the points as Jamie Dallimore cut it to 6-2.

The Wolfpack, winners of 19 straight games coming in, took over from there.

In the 15th minute, Andrew Dixon took a pass from close range and plunged across the line. Seven minutes later, Toronto put on a display of quick passing, sending Liam Kay over.

Andy Ackers set up the next two. First, after some chippy play from Stargroth Amean, Ackers fired a grubber that bounced 20 metres before being corralled by Matty Russell. Then, Ackers flicked a pass to Joe Mellor before being dragged to the turf.

Anthony Mullally and Kay would round out the first half, leaving Toronto up 40-2 at half-time.

Ackers continued to make his presence felt in the second half. Just after play had resumed, he drew the Raiders’ defence in with a dummy, and then dove in himself.

The lone bright spot for Barrow came five minutes later. Following a penalty against Ricky Leutele, a persistent set from the Raiders saw Dallimore work his way across the line, capping it with the conversion.

The Wolfpack would score three more times, as Dixon and Russell bagged tries that bookended an Amean yellow card.

Kay capped off his hat-trick in the 72nd minute, while O’Brien kicked nine out of 11 conversions as Toronto wrapped up a 20th consecutive victory and continued their imperious march into the play-offs.

For Barrow, the loss officially signalled relegation back to League One, where Crarey’s side will have to regroup. Despite the disappointment however, Crarey was happy with the fight his side showed.

“I can’t praise them enough really,” Crarey said. “We knew it was a big ask to come, and we’ve seen teams at full size that have been beaten more than that, so we get some respectability to come out of it.”

Toronto Wolfpack: O’Brien, Kay, Stanley, Leutele, Russell, Mellor, McCrone, Lussick, Ackers, Sims, Dixon, Thompson, Wilkin

Interchange: Wallace, Springer, Mullally, Olbison

Tries: McCrone 2, Dixon 15, 56, Kay 26, 40, 72, Russell 28, 66, Mellor 34, Mullally 36, Ackers 43.

Goals: O’Brien (9)

Barrow Raiders: Cresswell, Loxam, Cross, Amean, Ford, Dallimore, White, Walker, Puara, Duffy, Morrow, Stack, Susino

Interchange: Séguier, Walne

Tries: Dallimore 47

Goals: Dallimore (2)

Referee: Aaron Moore

Attendance: 7,129

Raiders star man: Jamie Dallimore