It took the Toronto Wolfpack only three years to get into the Betfred Super League. They dominated each of the three seasons they were in the third and second tier of the Rugby Football League system. However, it’s important to talk about the players that made a difference with the Toronto Wolfpack.
This list will include players who played more than one year for the Toronto Wolfpack so that would exclude notable players like former captain Craig Hall and Championship player of the year nominee Jon Wilkin.
The Wolfpack’s Five Best Players in Franchise History
5. Josh McCrone – Toronto Wolfpack captain
It was a tough choice between McCrone and Ashton Sims, but after lots of thinking McCrone deserves this spot. The present captain of the Toronto Wolfpack, McCrone does not get the biggest hits or the biggest tries, but he is quietly the Wolfpack’s leader. According to Nigel Reed of CBC, McCrone does the simple things well and can motivate his squad on and off the pitch. He is a good kicker and is ferocious on defence, and missed only one game in 2019. He played a big reason why the Wolfpack was promoted this year.
McCrone said that he is excited about taking the Wolfpack into Super League as he explains his reasons for initially signing with the Toronto Wolfpack:
“This is something I will look back on in 10, 20 years time and think to myself that I was there when it started,” McCrone said. “It’s a massive opportunity for rugby league.”
4. Blake Wallace
Another player who helped the Wolfpack was Blake Wallace, having scored the winning try against the Featherstone Rovers. Wallace also played a big role in the Toronto Wolfpack’s success in League 1 and in the Championship.
Wallace is one of only two players on this list that has played all three years with the Toronto Wolfpack. He scored their first-ever try in 2019, his first of 48 tries for the club in 57 games. He’s also been used as a kicker with seven field goals as a Toronto Wolfpack player. Wallace has played all of his young professional career with the Toronto Wolfpack. According to 2017, Wallace confirmed he was 23 years old when he first signed for the Wolfpack.
“Hey guys name’s Blake Wallace. I’m 23 as you can probably tell by the accent I’m Australian I really excited to move over to Toronto, Play for the Wolfpack. It’s going to be a great opportunity, really good life experience, can’t wait to get over and win plenty of footy games at the den and run with the pack, cheers.”
There are lots of reasons to remember Blake Wallace. The most obvious one is his try in the Championship Grand Final. This try gave the Wolfpack the lead in the second half. This lead would not go away as they ended up winning 24-9 against the Featherstone Rovers. This Wolfpack fan favourite will also be making his Super League debut on February 2 against the Castleford Tigers.
3. Andy Ackers
Ackers came to the Toronto Wolfpack from the London Broncos in 2018 and has established himself as one of the main try scorers. In 2019, he appeared in all fixtures including the semi-finals and Grand Final. According to the Toronto Wolfpack website, he is known for “his trademark sprints, desperate lunges and tackling strength that belies his size.” He is a player to watch this year as he gets ready for Super League. A hooker with 13 tries in 52 games, Ackers was nominated for Championship Player of the Year award along with Gareth O’Brien and Jon Wilkin.
2. Gareth O’Brien
O’Brien came with the team on March 11 2018. This happened because of the financial difficulties the Salford Red Devils were having after the loss of Chairman Dr. Marwan Koukash.
Since being with the Wolfpack O’Brien has been a stellar performer. In 51 games he scored 32 tries, and 167 conversions. He has a total of a staggering 464 points in two seasons for the Wolfpack. These stats resulted in O’Brien winning the 2019 Championship Player award according to Love Rugby League’s Drew Darbyshire. He is an exceptional player most well-known for his famous drop-goal win against the Leeds Rhinos. However, the best player for the Toronto Wolfpack has been around since the very beginning. The first-ever signing for the Toronto Wolfpack, Liam Kay.
2020 @SuperLeague Media Day
Who’s ready for February 2nd? pic.twitter.com/yrwgZS0pfS
— Toronto Wolfpack (@TOwolfpack) January 22, 2020
1. Liam Kay – First ever signing for the Toronto Wolfpack
Kay has always looked like he was going to score every time he touched the ball for the Wolfpack. For the first two years of the franchise’s existence, he had the most tries of anyone in a Wolfpack uniform. Unfortunately, he suffered a serious injury against Halifax RLFC and missed the Million Pound Game against the London Broncos. The injury also caused him to miss a lot of the Championship season in 2019.
Kay can also be a good defensive player. This was shown in a CBC News article where Kay prevented a potential game-winning try by Toulouse Olympique XIII two years ago. He also seems committed to being with the Toronto Wolfpack for at least a few more years and grow the game of rugby league in Canada.
The Wolfpack’s best player already signed a two-year deal with the Toronto Wolfpack according to BBC Sport. The Wolfpack is in good standing for next year as they currently have the three best Championship players and many other talented players that helped the Wolfpack into Super League.
Other Players That Helped the Toronto Wolfpack
Two players that have played three full seasons with the Wolfpack, Andrew Dixon and Adam Sidlow have also played a pivotal role with the Wolfpack. Other players like Ashton Sims, Ricky Leutele and Ryan Brierley played a pivotal role in the Wolfpack’s success in their three seasons of existence.
The Wolfpack has experienced a ton of success in the second and third tiers of the English rugby league. They have also experienced a few disappointments including 2018 where they lost the Super 8s qualifiers to the Hull Kingston Rovers and the Million Pound game against the London Broncos.
“Main photo credit”