Blake Wallace: Favourite Toronto Wolfpack Player

This list has changed a lot over the years. In 2017, Rhys Jacks was my first favourite player but he only lasted with the Wolfpack for about a year. Then, I took a liking for Ryan Brierley and Blake Wallace. For a brief period of time, Brierley was my favourite Wolfpack player.

However, there were two reasons that made me put Wallace over Brierley. One was the key try that gave the Wolfpack the lead against the Featherstone Rovers. A lead they would never relinquish, which allowed the Wolfpack to win the Championship Grand Final. They also booked their place in England’s first division’s Betfred Super League.

The other reason was his start as a Toronto Wolfpack player. Unlike many players on the squad currently, he has been with the Wolfpack since day one. And unlike other original Wolfpack players, his professional career started with the Toronto Wolfpack.

My Favourite Toronto Wolfpack Player: Blake Wallace

Blake Wallace: His Road to Professionalism

Blake Wallace talks about how getting involved with rugby league. Shane Millard, a former rugby league player was the person who got him involved. According to Rugby AM, Wallace said this:

“Yeah well I was working for a bloke called Shane, me lad come over wow it was and he was also I moved back from Queensland and when I moved back just to sort of help with me for tea and stuff I’ve got a job with him because he mainly hired boys that played footy and he was pretty flexible with training and stuff like that so he put my name forward and then we sent him some footage and it kind of just snowballed from there.”
Wallace is talking about Shane Millard, a former Australian rugby league player who played for the Leeds Rhinos. Millard provided lots of help for Australian players to get playing time in rugby league and also find work in Australia to make ends meet. According to Matthew Shaw of Total Rugby League, Wallace worked as an airport handyman at Sydney Airport. He also played part-time for the Illawarra Cutters.
It was through Millard that Wallace got his start as a rugby league player. When Millard played in Super League, he knew both Brian Noble and Simmon Finnigan. Wallace explains their connection to Millard and how Wallace became a professional rugby league player according to Total Rugby League.
“My boss used to play in the Super League, Shane Millard. He played with Simon Finnigan (former Toronto assistant coach) and Nobby (Brian Noble) had coached him. They approached him about some players and he put my name forward and it snowballed from there.”

The Significance of the Toronto Wolfpack

How someone from Australia landed with the Toronto Wolfpack is extraordinary. There were a lot of questions about the Wolfpack and travelling to Canada for players at the time.  This was especially true as Toronto Wolfpack was the first successful transatlantic team in the world.
This takes into account the NFL’s developmental league called NFL Europe. This league had teams in Europe, America, and Montreal. However, the North American teams only lasted two seasons from 1991-92, ending the transatlantic dream.
The other part that makes Wallace so attractive is his pivotal role with the Toronto Wolfpack. This includes being one of the first players introduced in the Toronto Wolfpack YouTube Account.
“Hey guys name’s Blake Wallace, I’m 23 as you can probably tell by the
accent I’m Australian really excited to move over to Toronto to play for Wolfpack and it’s gonna be a great opportunity really good life experience can’t wait to get over and would be playing a lot of footy at the den and run with the pack cheers.”

Key Tries Scored for the Toronto Wolfpack

Wallace has had some of the most important tries in Toronto Wolfpack history. This included scoring the first try in Toronto Wolfpack history. This occurred in 2017, where Toronto Wolfpack had its first-ever fixture against Hull FC. They lost that game 26-20.

However, he will be remembered more for his try against the Featherstone Rovers. He was a sub in the second half and immediately made an impact. In 2018, in the Championship Grand Final, he gave the Toronto Wolfpack the lead in the second half. They would never trail in the game again. As a result, they were promoted to Super League. This is the highest level of rugby league in the northern hemisphere.

According to Love Rugby League, Wallace has had 50 tries as a Toronto Wolfpack player. In both his 2019 and 2020 season, Wallace is being depended upon more to score goals for the Wolfpack. In 2019 alone, he had 35 goals and also has seven in the shortened 2020 Super League season. His contribution to the Toronto Wolfpack is a big reason why he is one of the top five players in Toronto Wolfpack history, which can be read in this previous article.

Personality

It is important to note that the Wolfpack want to be the best team in both North America and Europe one day. However, one also needs to grow the game in a city like Toronto. It is safe to assume at least in the first year, that the Wolfpack acquired players who would be good role-models for kids. Wallace is an example of that type of player.

An example can be seen with the bromance between Wallace and Brierley shown below.

Wallace has a bubbly personality and had a close relationship with Brierley. This is what Wallace said according to Nothing But League.

“The first player I’d pick would have to be Ryan Brierley because he’s got a pretty level head. He’s like my father; he gives me good advice, so he’d be able to reassure me!

More importantly, Wallace has become part of the Toronto sports community. Last year, Wallace along with Bodene Thompson had a walk at the Distillery District in Toronto.

Furthermore, Wallace has made himself known in the Toronto sports world. He threw the first pitch of a Toronto Blue Jays baseball game last year.

According to Vice, Wallace is really enjoying his time in Toronto. This is what he said on Ben Stanley’s VICE article:

“The fans are pretty passionate – I’d never seen anything like it. When we were warming up [for the home opener], they were rolling into the ground and they had flares going. They had big banners. They really love it – they’re really passionate.

Wallace is currently enjoying the support of Toronto Wolfpack fans in Toronto. He is also one of only six players to play all four seasons so far with the Toronto Wolfpack according to Matthew Shaw of Total Rugby League.

Overview of Blake Wallace

Wallace is an important player who played a very big role in the growth of rugby league in Canada. He also has a good personality and has started his career with the Toronto Wolfpack. These three things combined make Wallace my favourite Wolfpack player.

Furthermore, he has been with the Wolfpack since its inception. This was also a big reason why I chose Wallace as my favourite player. Being a favourite player for me is paying your dues and creating a resume for yourself. This played a big part in choosing Wallace as my favourite player. He has done that so far and will continue to play a pivotal role in future years for the Toronto Wolfpack.

 

“Main photo credit”


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