Former Toronto Wolfpack back looks to kick-start career with Rochdale

James Gordon
Nick Rawsthorne

Outside back Nick Rawsthorne has joined League One side Rochdale on a one-month loan from Halifax Panthers.

Rawsthorne, 27, came out of retirement to join the Panthers ahead of the 2023, but has been unable to break in to their team due to the fine form of Lachlan Walsmley and James Saltonstall.

He was part of the Toronto Wolfpack side that won League One in 2018, and he scored 27 tries in 34 appearances for the Canadian outfit.

His spell with Toronto was the best of his career, in which he has made 81 appearances since making his debut in 2016 for South Wales Scorpions on loan from hometown club Halifax.

In June 2017, Rawsthorne scored two tries on his Super League debut for Hull in a 39-26 win over Wigan, but would only make two further appearances for the Airlie Birds before departing for Toronto.

After the demise of the Wolfpack, Rawsthorne made six appearances for Hull KR before returning to Halifax ahead of the 2021 season, at the end of which he retired.

But now he will be looking to make his first professional appearance since starting on the wing in Halifax’s 17-16 win over Widnes back in July 2021, when Rochdale take on North Wales Crusaders on Sunday week.

Rawsthorne said: “I’m looking forward to getting going. I need game time as a player and I’ve not had that since I re-signed for Halifax.

“I’m in the best shape I’ve ever been in my career, and I’m going to give my all in a Rochdale Hornets shirt.”

A proven try scorer

Rawsthorne joins team-mate Ben Forster, who has had his loan deal at Rochdale extended by a further month.

Rochdale have had a difficult start to the season, only winning one of their five League 1 games to date.

Coach Gary Thornton said: “Nick is an experienced outside back, and a proven try scorer at both Super League and Championship level.

“He will strengthen our outside back options at either centre or wing, and I’m delighted we were able to agree a loan deal with Halifax for his services.”

Rawsthorne announced his decision to reverse his retirement back in November, and featured for the Panthers in pre-season.

On his return to rugby league, he said at the time: “I just really missed the game. I thought I needed a year away from rugby league just to concentrate on work and family and things, and I’ve done that. So I wanted to come back and I didn’t want to do that with anyone else except Halifax. I’m buzzing to be back.

“It’ll take me a few weeks to get back into things but I’m feeling good and ready for it.

“Coming back into the group with the boys, it’s like nothing has changed. They’ve been really welcoming and I’m just buzzing to be back and ready to crack on.”

As well as the clubs previously mentioned, Rawsthorne has turned out for York, Doncaster and Leigh and has a total of 51 career tries.