Duhaney Park Red Shark Renaldo ‘WD’ Wade can’t wait to take his place at the 2018 Americas Championship, which will also act as qualifiers for the 2021 Rugby League World Cup. The Jamaican centre, who scored a hat trick for his side in the domestic Grand Final as they won the double in 2018, has more reason than most to want to make his name on the wider stage.
The University of North Florida, Jacksonville, will host two double-header rounds on 13th and 17th November 2018, and in the opening fixtures his Reggae Warriors take on Canada, the winners facing either hosts USA or Chile.
Wade knows a thing or two about overcoming adversity. The devoted father of a two-year-old daughter, he has lived in some of the capital Kingston’s toughest neighbourhoods; Waltham Park, Callaloo Mews and Riverton City.
The 29-year-old is currently unemployed but dreams of playing semi professional rugby league, which is one of the reasons he can’t wait to join up with the rest of the squad, the bulk of whom will be travelling over from England, some of whom make their living from the sport.
“Living in the inner city and playing rugby league for my country has made me into a man my community looks up to,” said Wade, who first debuted for Jamaica in 2011. “It made me very disciplined, going to practice and matches, which has always been a challenge because of a lack of money. A lot of the time I had to walk there.
“But it is something I love. Playing for the national team has made me a better person, that’s when I started to realise that people were watching me and that I needed to present myself in a respectable manner.”
It was rugby league that enabled Wade to escape the cycle of violence and despair that affected many young men he grew up with.
“Playing for the Warriors has also given me a lot of travel exposure and experiences I wouldn’t otherwise have had,” Wade noted. “If it wasn’t for rugby I probably wouldn’t have left the island, so it has been my way from crime in my community.”