TORONTO — Victoria teenager Quinn Ngawati became the first Canadian-born player to feature for the Wolfpack as Toronto thumped the Gloucestershire All Golds 62-10 Saturday to extend its rugby league win streak to 14 games.
Ngawati, who turned 18 in June, came off the bench in the 55th minute for Toronto (14-0-0) and the six-foot-four, 212-pound forward wasted little time getting involved in the fray on both offence and defence. He did not look out of place, flicking a nice one-handed pass to set up a try.
Ngawati (pronounced Now-r-tee) is also the first Canadian-born player to play pro rugby league according to Canada Rugby League, the governing body of the sport in Canada.
Australian-born Wolfpack players Rhys Jacks and Tom Dempsey are Canadian internationals by virtue of their bloodlines.
Captain Craig Hall scored two tries with Jacks, Fuifui Moimoi, Jonny Pownall, Richard Whiting, Bob Beswick, Greg Worthingon, Steve Crossley, Quentin Laulu-Togaga'e and American Ryan Burroughs adding singles for Toronto, which led 34-6 at the half despite a long injury list on the day.
Hall added nine conversions before an announced crowd of 7,139 on a glorious summer afternoon at Lamport Stadium.
It could have been worse. Toronto crossed the try-line six more times but was unable to get the ball down because of some valiant defending.
Skipper Steven Parry and Lewis Reece scored tries for the All Golds (6-8-0). Jack Mitchell added a conversion for the game visitors, who took their lumps physically.
It was more of the same for the fully professional Wolfpack, who have had their way with the semi-pro opposition in the Kingstone Press League One, the third tier of English rugby league.
Toronto, rugby's first transatlantic team, is starting at the bottom as it bids to win promotion to the second-tier Championship and then the elite Super League. It has promised to take care of travel and housing costs for visiting teams until it cracks the top level.
The All Golds came into the game tied with three other teams on eight points, all trying to secure the eighth and final spot in the Super Eights competition that will ultimately decide promotion this season.
Toronto has led that chase all season, topping the table while averaging 60 points a game over its first 13 contests.
Ngawati, who has also played rugby union for Canada at age-grade level, survived the Wolfpack tryouts to make the team, joining the side during the current home stand.
Toronto coach Paul Rowley calls Ngawati a "rough diamond."
Ngawati's father is from New Zealand with Maori roots. He played rugby league so the Canadian-born Quinn grew up immersed in both union and league. His mother is Canadian, meeting her future husband in New Zealand.
Toronto was without the injured Blake Wallace and Sean Penkywicz (ankle), Ryan Brierley (hernia), Ryan Bailey (knee), Andrew Dixon (foot) and Gary Wheeler (quad).
The injuries forced a reshuffle of the backline with winger Liam Kay moving to centre, allowing Hall to start at No. 6. Burroughs came in for Kay on the wing.
Burroughs made the most of the opportunity, producing some slinky runs. He may be needed again with Pownall limping off in the second half.
The visitors had their own roster issues, missing Courtney Davis (concussion) and Chris Barlow (leg), Brad Hargreaves due to work commitments (he runs a market stall and couldn't leave it unattended) and with Ben Stead, Brad Kislingbury and Harry Kidd playing for England at the Student World Cup.
"We've taken a few hidings off part-time teams in our division, so coming up against the best side in the division, we're going to have to be at our absolute maximum to keep the score down," coach Lee Greenwood, a former England player, said prior to coming to Toronto.
The semi-pro side is owned by the University of Gloucestershire.
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