4th October 2019, 14:23 | championship
The Betfred Championship season will come to its dramatic culmination this weekend as League Leaders’ Shield winners Toronto Wolfpack welcome play-off package Featherstone Rovers in the 5th Million Pound Game.
Toronto sealed the League Leaders’ Shield back in July with victory over Widnes, this coming during a 22-game winning run which has extended into the Play-Offs with their comfortable 40-24 victory over Toulouse Olympique a fortnight ago.
While the Wolfpack’s season has always seemed destined for the Million Pound Game, the Rovers have had to do it the hard way in the Play-Offs. After a 5thplaced finish, Featherstone came into the Play-Offs knowing they would need to win four consecutive away games if they were to reach the promise land of Super League.
Ryan Carr’s men knocked off Leigh Centurions in Week One, before another dominant showing a week later against York City Knights at Bootham Crescent. However, their most impressive performance came last week as the Rovers travelled to France and overcame Toulouse who many fancied for a rematch with the Wolfpack.
For Toronto the aim since formation back in 2017 has been Super League, and after missing out so narrowly last season to London Broncos at the Lamport Stadium they will be looking to show lessons have been learnt and bring a Trans-Atlantic feel to the domestic top flight.
Bob Hunter, Chairman and Interim CEO of Toronto Wolfpack, said: “We’re very close to a sell-out, including as many as 350 Featherstone fans.
“We’re totally prepared for putting on some amazing entertainment but more importantly an amazing Rugby League game.
“They’ve continued to impress me with the level of commitment and Brian McDermott has them very focused at the moment and they have their eyes on the prize and everybody is about what is going to happen on Saturday. They are very well prepared.”
The Rovers have had their share of success throughout the years in the Championship winning the League Leaders Shield on four occasions between 2010 and 2013 before twice lifting the Championship Shield in 2015 and 2018. However, a victory in the Million Pound Game, would surpass all recent achievements but CEO Davide Longo knows how big the task at hand is.
“It’s going to be a tough game, we know that. Toronto are a full-time outfit and they’ve got the advantage of a rest in between games.
“We are full of confidence and we’re taking a lot of momentum into this game and the lads look very excited to be involved in this game. They’re up for this and going to do a job.
“I think if we have to be honest, we always wanted to get into the top five. We realised we had a good team and we knew if we made it into the top five, we’d roll the dice in the Play-Offs and it has worked very well for us.”
Toronto will be looking to make amends for last season’s disappointment while Featherstone are aiming to complete potentially the most impressive Play-Off series in Championship history.
Watch all the action live on Sky Sports from 7:30pm, with coverage starting on Sky Sports Arena from 7pm.