Toronto Wolfpack have laid out their intentions for all to see as they start preparations for the 2019 season, with the signing of six big names from the highest level of the sport.
NRL star Ricky Leutele heads to Canada from Cronulla Southerland Sharks in Australia and joins five top line Super League stars in Jon Wilkin, Joe Mellor, Bodene Thompson, Gadwin Springer and Tom Olbison in doing the same.
The new signings make a statement to the loyal Wolfpack fans and the Rugby League world that Toronto will come back bigger, better and stronger next season after just missing out on Super League promotion in their first year in the Betfred Championship. The six stars also demonstrate the tremendous appetite players from around the world have to showcase their sport in Toronto and to help grow the game in North America.
Ricky Leutele is an NRL Premiership winner with the Sharks and becomes the third Samoan international to play for the Pack, following in the footsteps of Quentin Laulu-Togaga’e and Reni Maitua. He will be aiming to make a real impact in the left centre position for the Wolfpack, having been such a consistent performer there throughout his career. Read the full press release regarding Leutele’s signing here.
34-year-old former Great Britain international Jon Wilkin ends a 16-year career with Super League’s St Helens and opts to run with the Pack to add a wealth of experience. Wilkin has won every trophy available in the RFL system across a staggering 400+ Super League appearances and will add a high level of leadership to the Wolfpack. Read the full press release regarding Wilkin’s signing here.
Widnes co-captain Joe Mellor signs from the Vikings, following their relegation from Super League this year. The diminutive half back has been an outstanding performer at the Halton Stadium for eight years and will add vital competition for places in the half back spots at Toronto. Read the full press release regarding Mellor’s signing here.
Bodene Thompson adds yet more depth and impact to the Wolfpack forwards, having made a big impact in his first season in the UK. The former NRL star started the 2018 season at Leigh before making a late season transfer to Warrington Wolves, where he became a potent attacking threat on the left edge and featured in the Super League Grand Final against Wigan Warriors. Read the full press release regarding Thompson’s signing here.
Gadwin Springer joins Toronto following a four-year stint with Castleford Tigers and was instrumental in helping the West Yorkshire side rise to Super League supremacy. This year he has struggled for game to and heads to Lamport Stadium looking to nail down a starting front row spot. Read the full press release regarding Springer’s signing here.
Tom Olbison put pen to paper on a deal with the Wolfpack today following a year-long stay at the Vikings. Having started his career at Bradford Bulls, the second-row forward went on to rack up just short of 150 appearances for Yorkshire outfit in seven years. He signed for Widnes in 2017 and played 49 games for the Vikings before taking the decision to move across the Atlantic to the Wolfpack. Read the full press release regarding Olbison’s signing here.
All six players offer something different to the Toronto squad but, vitally, add significant quality in key areas. They will bring big game experience as well as a good balance to the playing group as the club looks to mount another promotion charge in 2019.