Liam Kay was the very first player to sign with the Toronto Wolfpack. He is also one of only six Toronto Wolfpack players still with the team. Kay has been proven instrumental in the Wolfpack’s success in their short existence. This article will look at what he means to the Wolfpack and why he should be considered the best Wolfpack player right now.
Toronto Wolfpack’s ‘Best Player’ Liam Kay
Liam Kay was inspired to play rugby league because of his father. This is what he said according to the Toronto Wolfpack YouTube site:
“It was my dad but that got me into it and you know I used to play rugby himself he actually was number five as well when he was playing which is which is a coincidence book but yeah he got me into playing rugby and you know didn’t give me the choice of football or teddy bears when I was four years old you know he said I used to sleep with a rugby ball when I was younger so ever since I was five pretty much lived and breathed you know Ruby League.”
Kay was born at Leeds, West Yorkshire, England, which is a rugby league heartland. He grew up playing rugby league wanting to play professionally.
Professional Career Before the Toronto Wolfpack
Liam Kay started his professional career with Wakefield Trinity Wildcats (now Wakefield Trinity) from 2012-13 in Super League. He scored seven tries in five games with a total of 28 points. Liam Kay also played on loan with Doncaster RLFC in 2013 scoring 12 tries in 21 games with a total of 48 points.
He then played with the Leigh Centurions from 2014-16. In those seasons, he played 78 games, in which he scored 74 tries and had a total of 296 points. With the Centurions, he was coached by Paul Rowley, who would end up being the first-ever coach of the Toronto Wolfpack.
With an amazing kick & run try and several near misses we saw exactly why @_liamkay topped the try charts this year! pic.twitter.com/Gbehk54Yku
— Leigh Centurions (@LeighCenturions) August 24, 2015
The Signing of Liam Kay
Liam Kay was the first player signed by the Toronto Wolfpack. His connection with Rowley was a big reason why he joined the Toronto Wolfpack. Kay revealed this when Rowley, the original head coach of the Toronto Wolfpack left the organization according to Rugby AM.
“I had a really good relationship with Paul Rowley and it was a shock and it was hard to see him leave the club. He’s probably the reason why where I am, where I am today, really he’s following me into the player that I am, so I’ve got massive respect for him.”
Kay also talked about the risks of signing with the Toronto Wolfpack back in 2016 according to torontowolfpack.com.
“When I first signed for this team, it was kind of like jumping into the deep end of a pool and not been able to swim. Slowly but surely it is starting to pan out for the team. When I first signed, the original plan was five years to get into the Super League and so to make it in four years, ahead of schedule, I think it would be good for the game.”
First Game with the Toronto Wolfpack at Lamport Stadium
Liam Kay talks in detail about the first-ever against Toronto Wolfpack match in Toronto. This was in 2017 where they faced Oxford RLFC.
“I went out for warm-up, and usually in England the whole crowd is out by that time. There wasn’t many people there at that point and I probably thought ‘I’ve made a bad decision here – nobody’s going to turn up, this isn’t going to last a year and it’ll fold’.
However, then lots of fans started coming to watch the Toronto Wolfpack. This changed Kay’s perspective on the team’s future.
“But during the game thousands and thousands of people started to turn up. Rugby league wasn’t even really a sport in Canada, and these people were turning up to watch something they didn’t really know anything about.”
The total attendance for the game against Oxford RLFC was 6,281 for their home opener. However, Kay would not get his first try for the Wolfpack in Toronto until June, where he scored three tries against the Coventry Bears. As a result, he was awarded the first star of the game by the Toronto Wolfpack.
AIR TRANSAT STARS OF THE MATCH
⭐️1st Star – Liam Kay
⭐️2nd Star – @BBPerform
⭐️3rd Star – @FuiFui_MoiMoi
— Toronto Wolfpack (@TOwolfpack) June 3, 2017
Liam Kay’s Success with the Toronto Wolfpack
Liam Kay was the top try-scorer in the Toronto Wolfpack’s first and only year in League 1 with 27 tries in 2017 and in 2018 in the Championship season with 26 tries. He also had 12 tries in the 2019 Championship season with the Toronto Wolfpack in only 16 appearances and one try in the 2020 Super League season.
This data was found on the Love Rugby League website. Kay also made an impressive try and game-saving tackle against Toulouse Olympique XIII according to CBC Sports in 2018. Kay would also make a highlight-reel play in the 2018 Championship season where he scored a fabulous try against the Sheffield Eagles.
Additionally, he also scored the Toronto Wolfpack’s first-ever try in Super League against the Castleford Tigers.
Toronto Wolfpack’s Captain Josh McCrone Praises Liam Kay
Liam Kay is one of if not the best player for the Toronto Wolfpack. According to Blake Murphy of The Athletic, this is what Toronto Wolfpack captain Josh McCrone said of Liam Kay.
“It’s exciting to have someone of that caliber to put their hand up first to say, ‘I’m gonna come to a new venture like this,’ that makes everyone else eager to get here,” said Josh McCrone, the team’s new captain and marquee addition this year. “I’m lucky enough to play on the same edge as him. He finishes everything we start, which is good to have. He’s building on his game. His game’s evolving, and it’s evolving for the team.”
This is high praise as McCrone is one of the Wolfpack’s top players. Furthermore, he is a commanding voice in the Wolfpack’s dressing room for Toronto.
National Team with the Republic of Ireland
Liam Kay has been with the Republic of Ireland team since 2017. He has played three games and has a total of 12 points. In the 2017 Rugby League World Cup, he led the way for Ireland with three tries scored. Ireland had a points differential of +44 with two wins and one loss. However, they failed to make the quarterfinals after a tough 14-6 loss to Papua New Guinea. Before the 2017 Rugby League World Cup, he talks about Ireland and how much he is enjoying Toronto.
Overview of Liam Kay and the Toronto Wolfpack
Liam Kay has proven to be a main try scorer for the Toronto Wolfpack since its inception. He has also proven to be a key player who steps up in big moments. The Toronto Wolfpack is fortunate to have someone like Kay, who is making a name of himself in Canada.
Lastly, Kay is really enjoying playing in Toronto. This is how he described playing in Lamport Stadium for the Toronto Wolfpack to Rugby AM.
“Yeah loving every minute of it like I can’t put into words like how good it is out there you’ve just got to experience it that’s all I’m gonna say I mean you know we see like people doubting it and stuff on on social media and stuff like that but until you go out there and experience it like you’ve experienced that yourself like it’s just it’s just another world.”
Liam Kay is just one of many players making a difference with the Toronto Wolfpack. He is making a mark in Toronto and is playing his peak years of rugby league with the Canadian club.
You can read about about other original Toronto Wolfpack players on Last Word on Rugby. The other two being Blake Wallace and Ryan Burroughs. Also, in another Last Word on Rugby article, you can read on the best players in Toronto Wolfpack’s history, which includes Wallace and Kay.
Main image credit: Embed from Getty Images