Toronto Wolfpack take pole position in race to sign Leeds Rhinos stars Stevie Ward and Richie Myler
Captain Stevie Ward and 2018 player of the year Richie Myler both look set to leave Leeds Rhinos for Toronto Wolfpack at the end of this season.
The Yorkshire Evening Post understands both players are poised to join their former Rhinos coach Brian McDermott at the Canadian club next year.
Ward, 26, is Leeds’ longest-serving player, having been given his debut by McDermott in 2012.
He was a Grand Final winner that year and again in 2017, when he played the full 80 minutes against Castleford Tigers just eight days after suffering a dislocated shoulder.
The Leeds-born back-rower was appointed captain in the off-season, but has played only one competitive game this year.
He was “stood down” indefinitely from training and matches in February because of a head injury.
Ward, who was restricted to six appearances in 2019 due to knee damage, is out of contract at the end of this season and is believed to have been offered a long-term deal by Toronto.
Myler joined Rhinos from Catalans Dragons on a three-year contract ahead of the 2018 season.
Chosen by McDermott as Rhinos’ outstanding player in his debut campaign, the 30-year-old lost his number seven shirt to new signing Luke Gale last autumn, but impressed as a stand-in at both hooker and full-back before Betfred Super League was suspended in March due to coronavirus.
The move to Toronto, who are bottom of Super League after being promoted last year, would give him an opportunity to play in his favoured half-back position.
Rhinos’ management revealed last week the club is facing a £4m loss over the next 18 months, as a result of the Covid-19 crisis.
News of likely cuts at Leeds has alerted other clubs and League Express newspaper has reported interest from at least one rival in utility-player Liam Sutcliffe, who is contracted to Rhinos until the end of next year.
Rhinos director of rugby Kevin Sinfield declined to comment on the speculation, but said the club is unable to commit to recruitment or retention for 2021 until the playing budget has been decided.
A message from the Editor:
Thank you for reading this story on our website. These are challenging times but the team at the Yorkshire Evening Post need your support more than ever in the weeks ahead.
While I have your attention, I also have an important request to make of you. In order for us to continue to provide high quality and trusted local news on this free-to-read site, I am asking you - wherever possible and providing it is safe for you to do so - to also please purchase a copy of our newspaper.
Inevitably falling advertising revenues will start to have an impact on local newspapers and the way we continue to work during this period of uncertainty. So the support of our readers has never been more important as we try to make sure that we keep you connected with the city you live in during this time. But being your eyes and ears comes at a price. We need your support more than ever to buy our newspapers during this crisis.
Our team of trusted reporters are working incredibly hard behind the scenes- from kitchen tables and spare bedrooms - to look at how we can do this and your continued support to the YEP will help to protect its viability in the days and weeks ahead.
For more details on our subscription offers please visit www.localsubsplus.co.uk/YEP, email [email protected] or call us on 0330 4033004