Toronto Wolfpack deserved more time to get their house in order – Luke Gale

THE NEWS about Toronto not being allowed back into Super League next year is disappointing.

By Luke Gale
Sunday, 8th November 2020, 8:27 am
Toronto Wolfpack fans celebrate with Hakim Miloudi after their Challenge Cup victory over Huddersfield Giants back in March – after what turned out to be their final game of the 2020 campaign. Picture: Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com.
Toronto Wolfpack fans celebrate with Hakim Miloudi after their Challenge Cup victory over Huddersfield Giants back in March – after what turned out to be their final game of the 2020 campaign. Picture: Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com.

I don’t claim to know the business plan their prospective new owners put forward or what is going on behind the scenes there, but from the outside looking in, it isn’t a decision which will do the competition much good in the long-run.

My take on it is they shouldn’t have let them in if they are only going to kick them out in a few years’ time.

If we want to expand our game and broaden our horizons, I think we should have given them a bit more time.

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York City Knights and their coach James Ford would be a good addition to Super League according to Luke Gale. Picture: Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com

It is a bit shortsighted to allow them in and then, at the first sign of adversity, not give them another chance.

I feel sorry for the players who haven’t been paid for months and probably aren’t going to be now.

It is not nice to see and I feel for them all and their families, as well as all the fans over in Canada.

Toronto not being allowed back in means Super League is looking for another club to make up the 12 next year and it’ll be really interesting to see who they choose.

Wakefield's Tom Johnstone attempts to evade Leeds' Luke Gale. Picture: Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com.

From what I’ve read, there’s a lot of interest and, again, I don’t know about business plans or anything like that, but I think York City Knights might be a good addition.

It’s a nice city, they have a fantastic new stadium and James Ford’s a fantastic up and coming coach.

They’ve done really well over the last couple of seasons and probably over-performed a bit so I think they would give a good account of themselves on and off the field.

Toulouse Olympique would be another good choice, but I think Covid might be an issue with them, because of the travel to and from France.

Obviously nobody knows what the situation will be in March or whenever we start and that could count against them.

It has been tough for Catalans this year and they might not want two clubs in that situation.

Whoever gets the nod, in my opinion, it needs to be a set-up who can cope with full-time rugby league and have the facilities and the infrastructure to be successful off the field as well as on it in terms of results.

It shouldn’t necessarily be the best team, they have to pick the best club who can offer the most to the competition.

I said in this column last week it would be the right decision to end the regular season early and go straight into the play-offs, with a couple more teams, so I am really pleased they’ve decided to do that.

Obviously it is good for us, but that’s not why I think that.

It would have been harsh on Catalans, who are fourth, if they missed out because they didn’t reach 15 games to qualify.

They’ve played 13 and we have played 17 so it would have been tough on us if we finished fifth and missed out after playing more games than them.

So making it the top-six is a fairer way of doing things and it means there’ll be some really intense games over the final three weeks of the season.

There’s no more meaningless matches any more, every one will have something riding on it and it will be season over for the losers.

That should make for great entertainment for the fans watching on Sky.

At the start of the year it was supposed to be top-five play-offs and our aim was to qualify for that, so I think it has been a good season in terms of the league and now we are two wins away from a Grand Final.

We know we will have to do it the hard way.

Catalans will be really tough and if we beat them it’ll be either Wigan or St Helens in the semi-final, on their ground, but it is exciting times.

The good thing for us we will be fresh when we go into next Friday’s game.

After four games in 10 days we’ll have had a couple of weeks’ break, which is fantastic and just what the doctor ordered.

We had a couple of days off at the start of this week, to get us over the last few weeks and the pile-up of games and the boys are feeling refreshed.

Spirits are high, for us now, it is a great opportunity and we are going to give it our best shot. There’s still everything to play for and it would be a great achievement if we could reach another final and win more silverware.

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