Written by Joshua Dean
It was recently announced that the Toronto Wolfpack have withdrawn from Super League due to COVID-19 and visa issues.
This has left Toronto’s seven import players without a club for the remainder of the 2020 season with the same visa issues also preventing them from being loaned to other Super League outfits, therefore leaving short-term deals in the NRL a possibility. For this occur tho, it would require Toronto releasing them from their existing contracts as loan deals in the NRL are not permitted with overseas clubs.
Whilst it’s yet to been seen if all of these players are looking to return down under, many NRL clubs could do with their services with some of them being teams they’ve previously played for.
RICKY LEUTELE – CRONULLA SHARKS
Bringing back the Premiership winning Centre Ricky Leutele makes a lot of sense for the Cronulla Sharks. With injuries to the likes of Matt Moylan and Josh Dugan, the return of Leutele would add much needed depth in the backs. He may not start every game, however with the Sharks recent injury history, it would be convenient to have him on standby. The former Samoan International is a solid player who would be a good mid-season signing for the Sharks.
JOSH MCCRONE – BRISBANE BRONCOS
Josh McCrone, as Captain of the Toronto Wolfpack, has shown great leadership in helping them get them to the Super League. His experience and composure is something the Brisbane Broncos desperately need. The halves are a major weakness in Brisbane’s squad and adding McCrone would allow Brodie Croft to finally be able to run the ball, with McCrone taking control and guiding the team around the park. It would be a win-win situation for both parties.
CHASE STANLEY – CANTERBURY-BANKSTOWN BULLDOGS
Outside Backs are becoming more sought after in the NRL, with many teams struggling to have quality in both the wing and centre positions. Depth is hard to find and Chase Stanley is a solid, NRL proven centre who could be useful to many clubs. Going back to the Bulldogs makes a lot of sense and seems very realistic, due to their lack of depth in the outside back department. Experience is something that Stanley could provide to a rebuilding Bulldogs side.
SONNY BILL WILLIAMS – SYDNEY ROOSTERS
Whenever Sonny Bill Williams is available to play in the NRL, strong links to the Roosters always occur. Adding SBW could push the Tri-Colours towards a third straight premiership, something never done before in the NRL era. They are the best attacking side in the competition and Sonny Bill would add something completely different to the squad. His offloads and skill is something any team would love to have, however the Roosters seem to be heavy favourites to acquire Sonny Bill Williams.
BLAKE WALLACE – CANTERBURY-BANKSTOWN BULLDOGS
Wallace is one of the most capped players for the Wolfpack. He has played in the NSW Cup, Intrust Super Cup, League One, The Championship, Super League and the Challenge Cup, yet is still somehow only 28 years old! Wallace has made it clear he wants to stay at the Wolfpack, however a six month loan in Australia could do him a world of good. Signing with the Bulldogs would give him more experience at the highest level and Canterbury are struggling to find a consistent halves combination. Blake Wallace signing with the Bulldogs is a low risk, high reward scenario for both sides, making it a very good idea.
DARCY LUSSICK – MANLY SEA EAGLES
A dependable and NRL proven prop forward is what every club wants at this point of the season and adding Darcy Lussick would add impact for the club that signs him. Returning to his junior club Manly makes the most sense for Lussick due to Sea Eagles lack of depth in the forwards. He is a solid prop, who will do everything required. Coming back to Australia would also give him a chance to continue his boxing career after the season is over. Many NRL clubs will be wanting to secure Lussick’s signature for the rest of the season, however returning to Manly seems the most realistic, especially because Trent Barrett has left, with the pair never getting along.
BODENE THOMPSON – NEW ZEALAND WARRIORS
Even though Bodene Thompson’s first stint at the Warriors ended controversially, coming back to the club makes the most sense for both sides. Obviously the club are struggling for numbers, with four players leaving to go back to New Zealand after this round. They would take anyone, especially an outside back or a forward. Thompson fits both as he has played in the second row and as centre throughout his career. He is a quality player, who could slot in straight away, either on the bench or in a starting role. There is no doubt of his talent and coming back to the Warriors could help him re-write his wrongdoings at the club in the past.
Not being able to play this season is a poor result for these players. NRL clubs could benefit from signing them so hopefully they can all work out a fair deal for everyone involved and we see them back on the field soon.