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.

Monday, 29th June 2020, 5:00 pm
Richie Myler scores against Toronto in March. Picture by Jonathan Gawthorpe.

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.

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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.

Stevie Ward in action against Hull in Super League round one. Picture by Tony Johnson.

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.

Brian McDermott watched Toronto's defeat at Leeds almost four months ago. Picture by Jonathan Gawthorpe.

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.

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