Featherstone Rovers stand just 80 minutes from Super League after a rollercoaster season peaked with a stunning 36-12 play-off win over big-spending Toulouse Olympique last night.
After finishing fifth in the Championship, Ryan Carr’s part-time side have now won away in the play-offs at Leigh, York City Knights and Toulouse.
Rovers – who were denied a place in the top flight in 1998 when they lost out to Wakefield in the promotion play-off final – will face Toronto Wolfpack in Canada on Saturday, and nobody would bet against the underdogs from Post Office Road from causing yet another upset in the Million Pound Game.
Two-try John Davies – who opened the scoring after just four minutes in France – said: “It’s been a rollercoaster these last few weeks. There’s no pressure on us and hopefully we can get a result next week.”
Forward Davies got on the end of Dane Chisholm’s clever kick for an opening try, and the same pairing combined on 16 minutes to make it 12-6, with William Barthau replying with a converted try.
Full-back Ashton Goulding squeezed in at the corner after a Toulouse knock-on handed over possession, and Chisholm kicked his third conversion.
Leading 18-6 at half-time, Rovers extended their advantage as James Harrison – promoted into the Rovers starting line-up after the loss of Brad Day and Josh Walters – dragged three would-be tacklers over the line for a try.
Chisholm hit the post with the conversion, and the French hosts threatened a comeback with a Paul Marcon try, Mark Kheirallah adding his second conversion. But two breakaway tries, from deep in Featherstone territory, from Chisholm and Jack Johnson knocked the stuffing out of Toulouse.
Winger Jack Render ghosted in to complete Rovers’ scoring and book a ticket to the play-off final.
Australian Chisholm, who has had spells with Bradford Bulls, Sheffield Eagles and Hull KR, said: “We knew it was going to be a tough game.
“The boys have been outstanding. We are going to Toronto now and it’s a big task ahead.”
Doncaster’s League One play-off hopes are over after they lost at Newcastle Thunder 34-4.
Rangi Chase scored a consolation try at Kingston Park but it was not enough to extend the Dons’ season for another week.
Kieran Gill ran in a hat-trick of tries for Thunder, while Keale Carlile, Lewis Young and Alex Clegg also crossed. Rhys Clarke kicked four conversions and a penalty.
Newcastle will play Oldham in next Sunday’s play-off final.