Canadian rugby league players generally are not that well known amongst rugby league’s wider community, but that could change soon.
As the Wolverines preprare for their forthcoming Rugby League World Cup 2017 (RLWC 2017) qualifiers against USA and Jamaica, Canada RL board member Paul O’Keefe believes that there a plenty of Canadians who offer quality and charisma to the sport.
“Enoch ‘The Warrior’ Wamalwa is always a crowd favourite due to his bullocking runs,” O’Keefe explained.
“He has been a mainstay on the Wolverines team since Canada’s International re-emergence against USA in 2010 and continues to grow as a player with every game he plays.
“Matt Wyles is Canada’s most capped player having played in all 20 internationals since 2010. He leads the team with his tenacious play and has a fine set of skills, which was exemplified by his magical tunnel-ball pass that led to an important try on the stroke of half time in game one of the Colonial Cup this year.
“Matt is an experienced campaigner who can turn the game at a blink of the eye.
“[Steve Bouchard is] nicknamed ‘The Beast’. He’s a tough, athletic forward with an American Football background.
“He is a part of the BC Bulldogs Development Programme and has played for both the Bayside Sharks and Valley Warriors in the BCRL Domestic Championship.
“Steve will make his international debut at RLWC Qualifiers and has a big representative future ahead of him.
“Jamie Kelly, is known as ‘The Sheriff’ and is the epitome of the hard-nosed, aggressive, ball-carrying Canadian rugby league forward.
“Playing either prop or back row, he has an incredible work rate to go with his uncompromising style and ultra-competitive attitude.
“He has been the consistent, top performer in the BC Bulldogs representative team since its inception in 2012.”
Canada can also call upon some heritage players with a background in Australian rugby league.
“Tom Dempsey is a heritage player who is travelling from Queensland for the Qualifiers,” O’Keefe added.
“He can be relied upon for a tough carry and plenty of work in defence. He also possess a nice pass for a big man.
“Rhys Jacks is a scheming Souths Logan halfback in the Queensland Intrust Cup. He is an organiser who creates opportunities for his runners and is solid in defence.
“Ryley Jacks [Rhys’s brother] has recently signed for Melbourne Storm feeder club Sunshine Coast, a halfback who possesses a good all round game and is looking forward to representing Canada.
“Michael Cregg is a clever hooker who adds a spark, he is known for his quick scoots from dummy half while Jonathan Cregg is a strong running back who is always dangerous. A great tackler, he is a talented player who loves a try.”