Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Wolfpack Foes Enjoy Trip to Toronto but Rugby League Journey Comes at a Cost

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Wolfpack Foes Enjoy Trip to Toronto but Rugby League Journey Comes at a Cost

Article excerpt

Wolfpack steamroll rugby league opposition


TORONTO - In the wake of the Toronto Wolfpack's latest lopsided win, a Gloucestershire All Golds player limped by on crutches as visiting coach Lee Greenwood was being interviewed.

Saturday's 62-10 loss at Lamport Stadium took its toll on the semi-pro All Golds (6-8-0).

"It was what it was, wasn't it," said an unsmiling Greenwood. "A part-time team of a lot of young and inexperienced lads against a lot of (players with) Championship, Super League experience who are full-time as well -- don't forget that element.

"It's as expected, to me."

Greenwood, a former England international, wasn't complaining. But he understandably did not enjoy seeing five of his charges go down during the contest. With only four extra players allowed to dress, that meant his team was down a man as the clock wound down.

How wide is the gulf between the two teams?

Toronto (14-0-0) was able to start former New Zealand and Tongan international Fuifui Moimoi, a tank of a man who made more than 200 appearances in Australia's National Rugby League, on the bench. One of Gloucestershire's players was unable to make the trip because he runs a market stall and could not leave it unattended.

"Some of them aren't even blokes yet, they're still kids," Greenwood said proudly of his players, who gave up 11 tries but prevented at least six others by holding Toronto players up after they crashed the goal-line.

Forced to begin life in the third tier of English rugby league, the Wolfpack have made short work of their outgunned opposition. Toronto has averaged 60 points a game on offence while yielding just 10 per contest.

Toulouse Olympique XIII was equally unchallenged after entering at the same stage of the competition last season, winning promotion after going 20-0-1. The French team currently stands fifth in the second-tier Championship with a 13-8-0 record.

While Toronto wanted to enter the competition at a higher level, CEO Eric Perez says entering via the third tier has allowed the team to build on and off the field. It has also helped answer any naysayers.

"We can say we earned it from the bottom up," he said. "We didn't get any handouts and we did it the right way ... We'll earn our way up to Super League the way everybody else does."

The Wolfpack are already working on boosting their squad for the demands of the Championship.

Toronto's opposition has welcomed the chance to play the Wolfpack, knowing the newcomers are boosting attendance and shining light on what is a niche sport by world standards.

They also appreciated the free trip to Canada, with the Wolfpack agreeing to cover travel and housing costs for their visitors until they reach the Super League. The accommodations are hardly the Ritz -- the visitors stay at York University -- but the opportunity to spend a few days in North America on someone else's dime is a good deal. …

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