Four Points: Toronto Wolfpack v Toulouse Olympique
1. Leutele Hat-Trick
Ricky Leutele swapped Cronulla Beach for Lake Ontario when he signed for Toronto Wolfpack ahead of the 2019 Season and that decision has looked every bit a winner for Leutele individually as well as his new team since day one. His first postseason game for the Club saw him take it to another level however, registering the first hat-trick of his professional career. Leutele scored 30 tries for the Cronulla Sharks across 129 appearances and in 2019 he has now tallied 18 tries in just 27 fixtures for the Wolfpack. When taking into account how many other tries he has had a hand in across the season, he is shaping up as one of the best signings of 2019 and Wolfpack fans will be excited to see what he can do when the Wolfpack return to the Den for the all-or-nothing Playoff Final on October 5.
2. Wilkin Experience
Another inspired signing during the most recent off-season, Jon Wilkin is proving to the Rugby world why the Wolfpack were desperate to secure his services ahead of the 2019 Season. A veteran of more than 450 games, Wilkin brings a calmness to the Toronto side that has spread throughout the locker room and made him one of the most important men in Head Coach Brian McDermott’s game-plan. In addition to a faultless defensive performance against Toulouse, Wilkin also provided several moments of inspiration that may have gone unnoticed by many in attendance but would be spoken of highly within the four walls of the Club. Everyone has their role to play as the Wolfpack strive to achieve promotion on October 5, and Wilkin will be crucial it more ways than one both in the lead-up to the clash and on-field once the game is underway.
3. Second Half Slow Down
While it did not cost them in the end, the Wolfpack hierarchy will not be pleased with some basic errors against Toulouse, particularly in the second half, which allowed the French side to hit the scoreboard late in the contest. The Wolfpack were outscored by the visitors in the second half and although they still claimed a comfortable victory, that is not the way Toronto would have liked to end the game, especially in front of their fanatical home fans. The last time the Wolfpack met their other potential Playoff Final match-up, Featherstone Rovers, they were also outscored in the second half despite claiming a tight victory and so it is sure to be something on the minds of the players and coaching staff heading into the most important fixture of the Club’s existence.
4. McDermott on the cusp of a return to Super League
While several Wolfpack players have experienced the Super League as part of different Clubs, there is no-one more equipped to mastermind a leap into the top-division than Head Coach Brian McDermott. The Yorkshireman played over 250 games for Super League side Bradford Bulls between 1994 and 2003 before moving immediately into coaching where he featured on the staff of Super League Club Huddersfield before landing his first Head Coaching role at Harlequins Rugby League, now known as the London Broncos. From there, he would move to Leeds Rhinos, a team he would take to an unprecedented four Super League Championships, two Challenge Cups and even the 2012 World Club Challenge. With just under a fortnight to go until the Wolfpack make their final push for an historic Super League berth, there is perhaps no better person to be at the helm than Brian McDermott.