Toronto’s Greg Worthington questions rugby league’s future following Wolfpack decision

Toronto player Greg Worthington has revealed the sorrow felt among the Wolfpack playing group after their resubmission was rejected.

Seven of Super League’s clubs voted against the return of the Wolfpack, who are now no more following their expulsion.

In a Zoom call with Wolfpack officials yesterday evening, the playing staff, who haven’t been paid for six months, were told there was no future for the club.

“I think, collectively, there’s was an element of shock that the result was what it was,” he said.

“No matter how much you prepare for the outcome, I still think when you get the definitive no, it still hits you like a tonne of bricks.

“It was a quiet and sombre atmosphere. We had a Zoom call last night saying they’d failed with the bid to re-enter Super League so effectively, that’s it, that’s the club done, that pretty much was all that was said.”

Players and staff were reliant on the club’s takeover to receive the money they were owed.

That will now not happen, with the players told they must take legal action against former owner David Argyle in an attempt to receive the money they are owed.

“As it stands currently, we don’t know whether we’re going to receive any funds and we’re assuming we have to go down some legal route which is going to be a long, drawn-out process and doesn’t help anyone in the immediate with their financial situation.

“Nobody directly from Super League has been in contact once. We had one call from the RFL and that’s it. The most disappointing thing for me is when people are waiting on wages and some people are financially struggling, and that you need a potential new owner to be successful, to find out in the media what’s happened before you’ve directly been told is poor form.

“It should have been kept in house and a call made to the playing group to say it’s gone against them rather than it being made in the media. There should have been a representative tell us, but that never happened.”

Worthington was one of the inaugural players from the Wolfpack’s inception in 2017 and believes the sport has missed a massive opportunity to grow in North America, and fears about the future direction of the sport now attempts to grow the game into North America have been rejected.

“I believe there’s a market over there that could provide some sort of opportunity to the British game. Whether that would have come to fruition I don’t know, I can’t give an honest answer. But now the door is completely shut and we will never know.

“If Toronto were to stay in Super League I thought that decision would be made with a view to growing the game in a massive market on the other side of the Atlantic. It might not have led to those financial opportunities, but now there is no possibility to exploit those markets and investment that the sport desperately needs.

“People will look at the situation with money and medical bills, wages being late and say good riddance. I’ve personally had to deal with all of those circumstances and caused me problems along the way. But I do believe run correctly and in the right hands there is so much potential there that sadly will now not be reached.

“I’m very worried for the future of the sport. I’ve been privileged to play this game as a job but I want the next crop currently playing at grassroots to have an opportunity to play this game professionally and earn a living and at this moment I don’t see how the game in its current position is going to attract big investors.

“Is the answer expansion? I don’t know the answer, but I know without the opportunity to expand it limits the opportunities out there.

“Collectively, the game really needs to sit down and think where it’s going to try and expand away from the Northern territories, it needs to stop dipping its toe in and hoping for the best. It has to throw itself in 100%, not have a play around and hope it works, and if not get rid with minimal effort or minimal effort to help. That will never work.”

Despite their demise, Worthington insists he does not regret his time with the club.

“It’s been a great ride, it’s just a crying shame to see it end so abruptly in such poor circumstances. I’d like to thank everyone I met in Toronto for making me feel so welcome in the city and it was an honour to play for the club and for the fans.”