No sooner will the 2016 season end in a few weeks than the hype and anticipation will build for the 2017 season. And amidst all the buzz concerning Leigh’s promotion to Super League, a new face in the Championship following Rochdale’s promotion and much more – perhaps the biggest attention will be on Toronto Wolfpack joining League 1.
Paul Rowley’s men are already building a competitive squad to say the least, with hooker Bob Beswick their most recent recruit. But what might the early stages of a Wolfpack team look like? Wonder no further..
Fullback: Quentin Laulu-Togagae
‘QLT’ is the latest marquee name to sign up at Toronto – and having impressed in the Championship for so long with Sheffield Eagles, it is hard to imagine his signing as anything other than a major coup for the Wolfpack as they prepare for 2017.
Wing: Liam Kay
The winger has fallen out of favour at Leigh Centurions towards the end of their charge to Super League – but expect him to be massive in the colours of the Wolfpack. A prolific try-scorer at Championship level, he will be a real asset for Rowley’s side next year.
Centre: Gary Wheeler
Much like Craig Hall, Wheeler is a useful utility to have on board after signing from Warrington. He has found chances hard to come by for Tony Smith’s side this year but if he can stay fit in 2017, he will be a great signing for Toronto.
Centre: Craig Hall
The Wakefield utility is arguably one of the biggest names to sign up at Toronto so far – and his versatility will be crucial in a testing league and cup campaign. However, Hall could easily slot in at centre at League 1 level and become a real star.
Wing: Jonny Pownall
Pownall is another of Paul Rowley’s former players at Leigh, and alongside Liam Kay, makes up a wing pairing which is not to be sniffed at. Can he provide the tries to get them promoted?
Stand-off: Blake Wallace
Wallace is arguably the big marquee signing thus far for Toronto, arriving from Australia to provide guile and creativity aplenty. He is currently playing for New South Wales Cup team Illawarra Cutters, the reserve side for St George Illawarra Dragons.
Scrum-half: Rhys Jacks
Another Australian-born half-back, Jacks is actually a Canadian international, having spent time at Sheffield Eagles in 2016 following a short spell on trial with Bradford Bulls.
Prop: Dan Fleming
The Welsh international is one of several coups in the pack for the Wolfpack thus far, having joined from Bradford Bulls – where he has been for two years after signing for them from Castleford.
Hooker: Bob Beswick
The most recent of Toronto’s signings, Beswick will bring huge experience to a Toronto pack looking to make its mark on League 1 next year. The long-serving Leigh hooker has spent the bulk of his career at Championship level.
Prop: Steve Crossley
The former Castleford prop has signed up for the Wolfpack project having spent the last couple of years at Bradford, as he tried in vain to help the Bulls return to Super League. However, he will provide some real force upfront for Rowley’s men in League 1 next year.
Second-row: James Laithwaite
Like Warrington team-mate Gary Wheeler, opportunities have been hard to come by for Laithwaite – but he will be a major force for Toronto next year in their debut season.
Second-row: Andrew Dixon
Another Leigh player who is linking up with former coach Paul Rowley, Dixon has been impressive for the Centurions during their Qualifiers campaign – so should fit into League 1 nicely.
Loose forward: Jack Bussey
The London Broncos forward provides experience and power at the tip of the Toronto pack, and like their other forward signings, will be a big asset for Rowley’s men in 2017.
Subs (as it stands!): Reece Dean, Ryan Burroughs, Toby Everett, Richard Whiting..
With those names already confirmed – what sort of level do you think this Toronto side could realistically play at? Vote below!