Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

Toronto Wolfpack coach Brian McDermott, seen during a team practice at Lamport Stadium on May 1, 2019, is hopeful even as Wolfpack have lost to Castleford, Salford, Wigan and Warrington.

Neil Davidson/The Canadian Press

The Super League challenge turns up a notch for the winless Toronto Wolfpack on Saturday when the transatlantic rugby league team takes on defending champion St. Helens.

The date with the Saints (2-1-0) completes a demanding introduction to England’s top tier for the Wolfpack. After Saturday, Toronto (0-4-0) will have faced the top five teams from last year’s standings, with all five fixtures on the road.

While the Wolfpack have lost to Castleford (28-10), Salford (24-16), Wigan (32-10) and Warrington (32-22), coach Brian McDermott sees positives.

Story continues below advertisement

“Over all the performance against Warrington was a pretty positive one,” he said. “I know this sounds repetitive but it is the truth – we are improving week in week out, getting better ever week.

“A really encouraging performance with the ball. Pretty strong defensively other than some isolated individual errors – some missed tackles. While it’s really frustrating to watch those, it’s actually encouraging that it wasn’t systematic breakdowns or Warrington being really, really good. We just had some blunders and missed tackles in defence, which ultimately cost us the game.”

St. Helens have gone 49-6-0 in regular-season play since the start of the 2018 campaign, winning the Grand Final and finishing runner-up in the Challenge Cup final last year.

“They’re a very consistent team,” McDermott said. “They’ve been a top team for a long while.”

The Saints will be looking to get back to their winning ways after a 20-12 loss to the Sydney Roosters in the World Cup Challenge last time out.

Despite the losses, the Wolfpack have won fans with their free-flowing offence, moving the ball with flair and panache.

“There were large parts of the game against Warrington where they could not handle us,” McDermott said. “They couldn’t defend what we were trying to do with the ball.

Story continues below advertisement

“We saw some of that against Wigan and a better version of that against Warrington. … We’re confident about what we can do. The last three teams we’ve played now, we’ve pushed them to the brink and had a really good chance of winning each game.”

Added McDermott: “We do know if the game’s a contest with Saints, we give ourselves a fine chance. The players are really excited about playing the champions this week.”

For veteran forward Jon Wilkin, it’s a chance to go up against his former team. The 36-year-old spent 16 seasons at St. Helens, playing more than 400 games for the Saints while helping fill their trophy cabinet.

“It was a long time. I committed a large part of my life to that club so it’s always be special to me,” Wilkin said. “But people kept asking me ‘Would it be strange to play against Saints?’ I just don’t think it is. … It’s more strange playing guys you don’t know at all. I spent a lot of years competing and training every day with these guys.

“If anything it’s more familiar. I don’t find it strange at all.”

Wilkin needs surgery to clear out his knee but is putting the operation off for a couple of weeks. He says if his knee permits, he will play on Saturday.

Story continues below advertisement

Toronto started the season with a bare-bones squad of 23 players, which included the on-loan Greg Worthington at Featherstone, due to salary cap issues. Considering rugby league teams dress 17 players for a game – 13 starters plus a four-man interchange bench – there was little room to manoeuvre.

Injuries have exacerbated the roster issue.

The latest casualty is hard-nosed prop Brad Singleton, who ruptured his lateral medial ligament last week at Warrington. Singleton, who ranked second in the league in tackles with 154 after four rounds, needs surgery and will be out four months.

He joins scrum half/hooker James Cunningham on the long-term injured list. Cunningham needed hamstring surgery after the Feb. 13 loss to Wigan and is out for six months.

Forward Darcy Lussick, who has yet to play this season after having hernia surgery, is likely to be available next week with halfback Joe Mellor (hand) possibly available the week after. The team also hopes New Zealand international back Chase Stanley, who has been stuck in Australia due to visa issues, may arrive some time next week.

Worthington was recalled from loan last week and the Wolfpack expect forward Gadwin Springer and winger Matty Russell to be available Saturday after going through concussion protocol.

Story continues below advertisement

French international Tony Gigot, on a month-long trial, made his Wolfpack debut last week and impressed McDermott at fullback. Forwards Jack Wells and Ben Kilner arrived this week on a month-long loan from Wigan.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies