‘We’ve signed a couple of guys that have NRL and Super League experience’ – meet the suburb rugby league team led by ex-Leigh Leopards man

‘WE’VE signed a couple of guys that have NRL and Super League experience’ – for most rugby league teams that would be considered a great signing.

But, for one suburb side in the depths of Australia, it is considered an incredible coup.

Former Leigh Leopards and Toronto Wolfpack halfback Blake Wallace left the UK back in 2021 after retiring due to concussion, but now he is head coach of the Dapto Canaries.

Few people in the UK will have heard of the Canaries, but in the Wollongong suburb of Dapto, they are a household name.

The club are a part of Country Rugby League and have competed in the Illawarra Rugby League premiership since its inception in 1911, winning nine minor Premierships along the way.

Now, Wallace, though still loving the game, will never take to the field to play again.

“I’m fully retired and I’ve got no intentions of playing. I’m coaching my local league team and I’m going into my second year,” Wallace told League Express.

In terms of the calibre of player which Wallace has been able to attract, a number of players with NRL and Super League experience have decided to make the move to the Canaries, though the former halfback was coy on their names.

“I’m really enjoying that, we are looking pretty good going into this season, we’ve signed a couple of guys that have NRL and Super League experience, though I can’t tell you who just yet before it’s announced by our club.

“I’m excited to work alongside them and we’ve got a good junior base coming through. I’m helping out with the Illarawarra Steelers as an assistant coach for their under-19s team which is linked with the St George Illawarra Dragons in the NRL.

“I’m learning plenty there and trying to get as much knowledge as I can.”

Despite Wallace’s stay in the UK being cut short by injury – he was forced to retire due to concussion – the 30-year-old doesn’t have any plans to make a coaching career over here.

“It’s not really something I’ve thought about, I’m settled being back home and being with my wife and family. Never say never in the future but I’m quite happy where I am at the moment.

“I’m excited about going on my coaching journey here and seeing where it takes me.”