Liam Kay injury takes gloss off Toronto win in Super 8s Qualifiers
Last Updated: 12/08/18 8:00pm
Toronto coach Paul Rowley admitted the loss of prolific try-scorer Liam Kay took the gloss off the Wolfpack's 14-0 win over Halifax in their opening Super 8s Qualifiers fixture.
The Ireland international, who has scored 48 league tries since joining the Wolfpack from Leigh two years ago, was taken off after 23 minutes with an ankle injury and, although he has yet to determine the extent, Rowley does not expect him to play again this year.
Toronto had earlier lost their other regular winger, Matty Russell, with concussion, which forced Rowley to play second-row forwards Andrew Dixon and Cory Paterson in the three-quarter line for most of the game.
"It was a blow losing two wingers and they are not any two wingers, they are probably our most consistent performers," Rowley said. "It really affected our ruck speed and our cutting edge as well.
"I'm really disappointed for Liam, it looks like it could be season over, but Matty will come back strong."
Toronto finished the Championship season eight points clear of their rivals but Rowley admits they were pushed all the way by their hosts.
Hooker Andy Ackers scored the only try of the first half and they had to wait until Dixon went over for their second four minutes from the end to clinch a hard-fought win.
"To get two points on the board was really important but we really had to work hard for it," Rowley added. "It's testament to their character.
"We saw two committed sides and it was a pretty brutal battle which probably could have gone either way.
"I thought structurally in defence we were good, but some of our detail was off. To get a zero is a massive sign of our commitment as a group to dig in. There were some really honest performances."
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Toronto's next test is a home game against Hull KR, live on Sky Sports, one of four Super League opponents lying in wait.
"It's a quick turnaround against arguably one of the two best teams in the eights," Rowley said. "It's another challenge but it's at home.
"The middle eights is about how quickly you can move on. Each game is a cup final.
"It's a tough competition. I think London showed us all the way, beating Widnes. That grabbed everyone's imagination. All four Championship clubs have put best foot forward."
Halifax coach Richard Marshall was proud of the efforts of his players.
"There wasn't a lot between the two teams," Marshall said. "We made it really difficult for them.
"Execution let us down today. We had plenty of opportunities, we had good, strong field position at key times in the game but we came up a bit short. I thought we were a bit edgy and a bit nervous."