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Members of the Toronto Wolfpack practice at Toronto's Lamport Stadium on Tuesday, July 24, 2018.Neil Davidson/The Canadian Press

Road trips that require one-way travel of some 5,500 kilometres are hard enough at the best of times. Pulling them off on short notice is even more demanding.

Which may explain Toronto Wolfpack coach Paul Rowley’s somewhat grumpy mood as he awaits his transatlantic rugby league team’s postseason schedule.

“Imagine ringing your family every day and you can’t tell them you’re coming home,” said Rowley, a former England hooker. “It has an unnecessary effect on state of mind, that’s what I’ll say. Unnecessary because any format should be written on a tablet or stone five years ago when the event first started. But it’s not, so we’re here. We’re dealing with it.”

While the Wolfpack call Toronto home, it is essentially their home away from home. The largely English team has a training centre in Manchester and most of the squad live nearby when over there. In Toronto, they live in residence-style digs with family joining them when possible.

The Wolfpack, who have already clinched the second-tier Betfred Championship title, wrap up the regular season Saturday against fifth-place Featherstone Rovers (15-7-0). Toronto (20-1-1) looks to extend its league winning streak to 19 games while defending its unbeaten history at Lamport Stadium.

The so-called Super 8 Qualifiers feature the bottom four teams in the elite Super League and the top four in the Betfred Championship. They play each other once, with the top three guaranteed a place in the Super League and the fourth- and fifth-place teams facing off to see who joins them in what has become known as the Million Pound Game.

The Super League participants will be Leeds Rhinos, Hull Kingston Rovers, Salford Red Devils and Widnes Vikings.

Weekend wins by Toulouse Olympique, London Broncos and Halifax will guarantee their Qualifiers place alongside Toronto. Leigh Centurions, who host Sheffield Eagles, and Featherstone need to win their games and hope other results go their way.

Toulouse hosts Dewsbury Rams, London is at Barrow Raiders while Halifax entertains bottom-of-the-table Rochdale Hornets.

Toronto knows it will play four games at home and three away in the Qualifiers. The Wolfpack will host Hull Kingston and Widnes and travel to Leeds and Salford.

But Toronto does not yet know the dates, which is a headache given the distance involved.

In a way, the Wolfpack are part of the problem. The travel is just as complicated for teams coming over here. Each of the eight teams have their wish list for the schedule with the Rugby Football League, the sport’s governing body, left to sort it out.

The schedule is due out Aug. 1 with postseason play expected to start Aug. 10.

As they’ve done during the regular season, the Wolfpack will take care of the travel expenses of the visiting teams – a burden eased via a sponsorship deal with Air Transat.

Toronto will be without Blake Wallace (ribs) and Greg Worthington (knee) for the Featherstone visit. Worthington is out for the season.

Saturday will mark the season debut of Victoria’s Quinn Ngawati (pronounced Now-r-tee). The 19-year-old forward, who saw action in two games last season, had been on loan to London Skolars of the third-tier League 1.

Just a year ago, he was finishing high school at St. Michaels University School.

“Not a lot of people in my graduating class are lucky enough to say that they’re playing rugby abroad or doing stuff like that,” said the 6 foot 4, 240-pounder. “It’s just a credit to all the support that I’ve had growing up, my family and friends, always pushing me, working hard.”

Ngawati is the first Canadian-born player to play pro rugby league according to the Canada Rugby League, the governing body of the sport in Canada

.In other Wolfpack news, winger Jonny Pownall has joined the Bradford Bulls, who lead the third-tier League 1, on loan for the rest of the season. He had been on loan to Barrow Raiders of the Championship.

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