Match Preview – Toronto Wolfpack Vs Sheffield Eagles
High flying Toronto Wolfpack are straight back into Betfred Championship action this weekend as they return to the UK capital for the second instalment of their London Series, as the second match of an intriguing double header against Sheffield Eagles.
London Skolars’ New River Stadium is the venue for a plethora of rugby league action as two of the top five sides in the second division do battle following Skolars enticing clash with League 1 rivals Whitehaven.
The meeting of these two clubs for one of Toronto’s big events on this side of the Atlantic comes just over a year after the Pack became the first side to play Sheffield at their new home ground Olympic Legacy Park, marking their return to the steel city.
This is the third of the Wolfpack’s home away from home games, with a large and vocal Canadian ex-pat contingent expected to re-create the atmosphere of a packed Lamport Stadium as Toronto look to maintain their lead at the top of the ladder.
In their way are a Sheffield side that have been a revelation so far in 2019. After a frustrating and difficult 2018, the Eagles look a completely different outfit this year and have dropped only one league game from their opening seven and currently sit two spots below Toronto in third.
Coached by club stalwart Mark Aston, some significant and clever recruitment has made the Eagles into genuine play off contenders, with an exciting spine playing off the back of an impressive forward pack that will certainly challenge Toronto through the middle of the field.
A new experienced halves pairing of Pat Walker and Anthony Thackeray are complemented well by James Davey out of dummy half and the exciting Josh Guzdek out the back, providing the Eagles with plenty of strike power and making them one of the toughest tests for Toronto to date this season.
There is little to separate the two sides on the table, but the club’s do come into the game on the back of contrasting fortunes a week earlier.
Brian McDermott’s men come to London confident and buoyed by a week off while Sheffield will be stinging and looking for a response after being dumped out of the Challenge Cup at home last week by Leigh Centurions, providing all the ingredients for a fiercely fought clash between two of the competition favourites.
After signing on loan until the end of the season from Super League side Hull FC, French international Hakim Miloudi is a chance at making his Wolfpack debut.
Toronto Wolfpack Squad
1 Gaz O’Brien
2 Matty Russell
3 Chase Stanley
4 Ricky Leutele
7 Josh McCrone
8 Adam Sidlow
10 Ashton Sims
11 Andrew Dixon
13 Jon Wilkin
14 Andy Ackers
15 Darcy Lussick
16 Tom Olbison
17 Blake Wallace
18 Gadwin Springer
23 Ryan Brierley
26 Brad Fash
27 Hakim Miloudi
33 Olsi Krasniqi