Amateur Rugby League side Shaw Cross Sharks have announced the signing of former Toronto Wolfpack trialist, Monte Gaddis writes Ben McKenna.
Gaddis, 24, is a former college football line-backer come rugby league second rower from Cleveland, Ohio. Gaddis played American football for Towson University and professionally for the Gdynia Seahawks in Poland. As well as competing in the Indoor Football League for the Iowa Barnstormers.
Gaddis has expressed his anticipation about joining the Sharks and is hoping that it will give him a platform to show what he can do on a rugby field.
He said: “I am very excited about coming back over to the UK and hopefully to get better. I’m still learning new things about the game everyday. Shaw Cross is a great opportunity for me.”
Gaddis was part of the Toronto Wolfpack trial squad but unfortunately for him he was not selected to be in the Wolfpack for their debut season in the Kingstone Press League 1. But that has not shaken him from his goal of making it to the professional ranks of the game.
The Cleveland native believes that his background in American football has enabled him to take to rugby league quicker than most and has seen improvement in his game already.
He said: “To me it still feels like football, things like my tackling fundamentals have gotten a lot better. I had to put down all the football terminology, rugby league and American football are two different sports.
“So I had to put the American football to the side and erase it from my mind so I could pick up all the rugby league information.”
Despite playing second row in the Toronto trial squad Gaddis is keen to show people what he can do on the wing. With the American already expressing a desire to better the club’s top try tally from last season.
He said: “I want to get the chance to play as a winger, to show people my speed and show I can finish moves with a try. I saw last year that two guys had ten tries, I want to get over ten tries this year. Mostly I just want a winning season, I saw last year it wasn’t a great season and I just want to come in and make an impact.”
Toronto board member Adam Fogerty who initially contacted Gaddis about trialling with Toronto believes that Shaw Cross have found a player who’s commitment is second to none.
He said: “He has certainly got the commitment, he is 100% committed, he is a great kid and he will give you a 100% effort. He is an athlete, he came from American football and he has the potential to do someone a good job, he is just so raw to the game.”
The drive of Gaddis was there for all to see when in 2015 he camped outside the practice ground of NFL side Cleveland Browns until they gave him a chance to show what he could do on the gridiron.
Shaw Cross Sharks Head Coach Brett Turner feels that the enthusiasm of Gaddis is something that will greatly benefit his team this season.
He said: “I am really excited about it, and I think the move will benefit both parties. He is really really enthusiastic and that was something last year we missed so we can have no shortage of it. We have had no shortage of enthusiasm so far in pre-season.
“The more enthusiasm the better and I think he will bring that with him as well as some fantastic athletic ability. I think he will be a massive asset.”
Gaddis also extended his thanks to Shaw Cross and is humbled by the opportunity that he has been given for this season.
He said: “I just want to thank everyone at Shaw Cross for the opportunity because it’s big for me and the club and I hope that we can help each other out with this one.”
Gaddis will arrive in England from Cleveland today (Tuesday) and will join up with Sharks almost immediately as the team continue their preparations for the season.