First overseas Wolfpack star leaves – and more could follow soon

Toronto Wolfpack’s overseas stars, including Sonny Bill Williams, will be forced to leave the country by the end of the month if the club’s visa crisis is not resolved.

Australian halfback Josh McCrone (pictured) has already left the UK, fellow halfback Blake Wallace remains in Canada and marquee players Williams and Ricky Leutele are currently preparing to return home in the next two weeks as the troubled club desperately tries to find a resolution to their problems.

Owner David Argyle revealed to The Mirror in the week that the club’s seven overseas players are all on visas which limit them to six months a year in the UK. The coronavirus pandemic has meant that period of time has lapsed and, as a result, they will have to leave the country by the end of July, and before their Super League return against Hull Kingston Rovers on August 2nd.

The exception to that rule is understood to be Chase Stanley, who only arrived in the country back in March. As a result, Stanley is currently able to remain in the country.

The club remains tight-lipped on its ongoing issues but some progress appeared to be made in the days following Argyle’s revelation.

But the club’s players have started making plans to leave the UK and the players are not yet back in training as a result of not being paid last month.

Toronto want players to report for testing on Monday, but their squad was waiting for assurances they would be paid in the next few days after not receiving their June payments. The players have been told they will be paid on Monday or Tuesday but they have asked for further clarification before agreeing to report back for testing. Players were awaiting those assurances when League Express went to press on Sunday evening.

Even if testing takes place on Monday, the Wolfpack will have to wait for the results to come back before they can begin training, which will push back a return until Tuesday at the very earliest. It means they will have just over a week of training before their pivotal bottom-of-the-table clash with Hull Kingston Rovers.

There then remains the issue of actually raising a team. As it stands, the Wolfpack only have 22 players after fan favourite Liam Kay joined Wakefield in the week.

Should six of their overseas players find themselves unable to be in the country, that leaves them with just 16 players.

Toronto have been in contact with several Super League clubs this week trying to secure loan deals to bolster their squad and the Wolfpack were encouraged by the support they had received from several clubs willing to help them overcome their current crisis. There’s also a feeling the club could delve into the Championship to fill up their squad.

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