By STEVE MASCORD
IT’s the first Trans-Atlantic sports club in history – welcome to rugby league, the Toronto Wolfpack.
Toronto mayor John Tory was on hand for the gala launch last week of a truly historic venture – a place in England’s National League One next year.
As an expansion franchise, this makes the New Zealand Warriors look like Newtown in comparison.
To put it into perspective, its believed no North American professional sports team has ever played in a promotion and relegations league before, because franchising is the dominant system in the US and Canada.
The Wolfpack, to be coached by ex-Leigh boss Paul Rowley, will play roughly a month of home games at a time and then go on tour for a month in England – just as we have been saying an English team in the NRL would operate.
Players will be drawn initially from England but Rowley will scout all of North America.
But that conference now covers the length and breadth of England, with teams from France, Wales and now Canada.
SEMI Radradra aside, confusion of eligibility continues to rule during the lead-up to the NRL representative weekend.
The Queensland Rugby League tried to tell people Anthony Milford was tied to Australia even though he’d not yet played for them at senior level!
Meanwhile, David Mead was – correctly – chosen by Papua New Guinea despite playing NSW Country less than 12 months before.
Queensland and NSW are provinces and in the eyes of the RLIF have no more impact on a player’s national eligibility than Group 16 would tie a player to Australia.
You are not tied to a country until you represent it at senior level during a World Cup cycle.
THE announcement of the Four Nations dates and venues happened between the last column being written and the mag coming out.
October 28: Australia v Scotland at Craven Park; October 29: England v New Zealand at John Smith’s Stadium; November 5: England v Scotland and New Zealand v Australia at Ricoh Arena, Coventry; November 11: New Zealand v Scotland at Derwent Park, Workington; November 13: England v Australia at Olympic Stadium, London; November 20: FINAL at Anfield, Liverpool.
Filed for RUGBY LEAGUE WEEK