Arrows Fight Back to Earn Bonus Point in New England Defeat
Enduring icy winds, driving sleet and sub-zero temperatures, the Toronto Arrows battled back to claim a valuable road bonus point in a 21-15 loss to the New England Free Jacks on Saturday evening.
Brock Webster and Jack McRogers scored tries for the Arrows in the scrappy affair at Veterans Memorial Stadium, where conditions worsened as the game went on.
The home side was first on the scoreboard, procuring a try off a strong solo effort by Beaudein Waaka three minutes into the match. The Kiwi flyhalf started the scoring play by arriving first to his own up-and-under before kicking the ball forward yet again, catching it on the run off a favourable bounce, charging deep into Arrows territory and finally popping it off the deck to Joe Johnston, who drove in the final few metres for the tally. Waaka added the extras, his first of three conversions on the day.
The Arrows came close to responding off a quick-thinking line break off the ruck from Tomas de la Vega. The Argentine dashed inside the Free Jacks’ 22, but his ensuing chip kick into the in-goal area designed for a racing Ross Braude was a touch too heavy.
The game was paused for several minutes after Spencer Jones went down after a collision, with Mitch Richardson briefly slotting in for Jones as the Canadian international departed the field for an HIA. The Arrows’ subsequent attacking scrum was stymied by the Free Jacks, but they wouldn’t leave the drive empty-handed; Malcolm booted a 37th-minute penalty, marking the Kiwi’s 100th successful goal (62 conversions, 38 penalty goals) in Arrows colours.
Jones was cleared to return to the pitch, but the score would remain at 7-3 with rain turning to sleet heading into the interval.
The sleet moved progressively to snow as New England started the second half on the front foot, with the home side penning the Arrows deep inside their own territory before mounting an attack off a quick tap at the Toronto five-metre line. Following several pick-and-go phases from the Free Jacks forwards, the hosts found their breakthrough via Slade McDowall, who ducked between two defenders to score.
A reply from the Arrows came five minutes later. Playing with an advantage deep in New England’s half, Malcolm located Webster in space along the left touchline and dinked an expertly-weighted cross kick that found itself safely in the Canadian international’s hands for the five-pointer. The sideline conversion fell victim to the evening’s high winds, but Toronto was back within a converted score.
The Arrows found themselves back in scoring position minutes later, but the visitors’ momentum was railroaded by a mystifying TMO decision. Cole Keith was shown on multiple camera angles getting involved in commonplace extracurricular shoving, but after five minutes of review while both sets of players patiently waited in the frigid temperatures, the TMO made the determination that the prop’s offence was worthy of a yellow card.
New England capitalized with the numerical advantage, with McDowall slicing through for his second try of the match to pull the hosts ahead 21-8.
Entering the final stages of the match, Free Jacks captain Josh Larsen was sent to the sin bin to give the Arrows a late spark deep in New England territory. As the clock ticked into the red, Toronto’s forwards pushed on for a final try, and achieved their goal when substitute McRogers blasted through from close range. Malcolm’s ensuing conversion confirmed the bonus point.
Toronto (2-3; 10 points) enters Week 7 of the 2022 season with an away clash against the Utah Warriors (2-3; 12 points) on Saturday, March 19. The cross-conference meeting will be played at Zions Bank Stadium in Harriman, UT, and will kick off at 4:30 p.m. ET.
Toronto Arrows Stat Leaders:
Ball Carries: Ronan Foley – 17
Carry Metres: Ronan Foley – 123
Tackles Made: Andrew Quattrin – 11
Offloads: Ronan Foley – 2
New England Free Jacks Stat Leaders:
Ball Carries: Josh Larsen, Terrell Peita – 7
Carry Metres: Slade McDowall – 66
Tackles Made: Joe Johnston – 29
Offloads: Three Players – 1
Toronto Arrows Score Report:
Tries: Brock Webster (54), Jack McRogers (80+3)
Conversions: Sam Malcolm (80+4)
Penalty Goals: Sam Malcolm (37)
New England Free Jacks Score Report:
Tries: Joe Johnston (3), Slade McDowall 2 (49, 67)
Conversions: Beaudein Waaka 3 (4, 50, 68)
Toronto Arrows Lineup vs. New England Free Jacks:
- Cole Keith
- Andrew Quattrin
- Isaac Salmon
- Mike Sheppard (C)
- Paul Ciulini
- Tomas de la Vega
- Lucas Rumball
- Ronan Foley
- Ross Braude
- Sam Malcolm
- Brock Webster
- Spencer Jones
- Ueta Tufuga
- Gaston Mieres
- Conor McCann
- Jack McRogers
- Marc-Antoine Ouellet
- Tyler Rowland
- Adrian Wadden
- Ollie Nott
- Chris Bell
- James O’Neill
- Mitch Richardson
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