Former New Zealand international Sonny Bill Williams takes part in a press conference at the Emirates stadium in London on November 14, 2019 at his unveiling as a player for Rugby Super League team Toronto Woolfpack. (Photo by Isabel Infantes / AFP) (Photo by ISABEL INFANTES/AFP via Getty Images)

The immediate future of multiple former NRL stars is up in the air after Super League club Toronto Wolfpack withdrew from the competition.

With the season set to resume on August 2nd, the competition has now been plunged into uncertainty.

Wolfpack captain Josh McCrone will likely return to Australia in the coming days, while teammates Chase Stanley, Ricky Leutele, Darcy Lussick, Bodene Thompson and Sonny Bill Williams, have yet to make a decision but are all likely to return to Australia.

Players returning will be free to sign with an NRL club with an open spot before the August 3 deadline. As it currently stands, only a few clubs have an open spot but this could change with teams able to release players.

Toronto owner David Argyle has spoken with and says the decision to pull out of the competition comes down to player welfare, with multiple players about to overstay visas which have allowed them to stay in the UK during the COVID-19 shutdown.

“The resumption to the season is fraught on a level of player welfare,” Argyle said.

“One strand of that is the COVID-19 and the fact that Super League players will have to play a game close to every four days to make up the schedule.

“There are also fundamental issues with our agreement with Super League as we are not members and do not receive central distributions from TV disbursement.

“We have visa issues which have not been addressed since we entered into the league, and that is nobody’s fault. However, that process has been further complicated by COVID-19.

“There is also a huge hole in our funding due to not being able to play home games in Canada.

Argyle has now shifted his attention to rejoining Super League in 2021, while also stating some players will be paid in full despite not receiving June wages.

“In regards to outstanding player wages, I have signed a personal guarantee that wages will be paid. I am required to pay under personal guarantees. Will I fulfil those obligations? Absolutely. Our intention is to play in 2021.

“We knew there would be headwinds, and we have made great inroads to develop the game in North America and develop a loyal fanbase in Canada, many of whom were not aware of the sport four years ago. However, the current predicament makes it incredibly difficult to commit to playing in Super League in 2021.”


  1. Yeah I would love to see Warriors get the lion share, and if not other cellar-dwellers (Doggies) be given a leg-up – well probably not SBW to Doggies, but SBW against the Roosters would be great!

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