Gareth O’Brien glad to be back after being left out for Toronto’s first two games

James Gordon

13th February 2020, DW Stadium, Wigan, England; Betfred Super League, Wigan Warriors v Toronto Wolfpack : Gareth O’Brien (1) of Toronto Wolfpack wins the highball from Liam Farrell (12) of Wigan Warriors

Toronto full-back Gareth O’Brien says he needs to work hard to keep his place, after returning to the line-up for the defeat at Wigan.

O’Brien, 28, missed the losses to Castleford and Salford after being left out by boss Brian McDermott, but was drafted back in to face the Warriors after Joe Mellor was ruled out with a broken hand.

He said: “It’s good (to be back), it’s a good game to be in. Wigan away is always a tough game. Disappointed with the result but good to be back on the side, I enjoyed it.

“It was a coaches call (to leave me out of the opening rounds) and I’ve got parts of my game I need to work on and improve.

“Me and him (McDermott) had a good chat before the start of the year and I’ve just got to work hard and it’s up to the boss to pick the team. I got back in today and I’ve enjoyed it. Hopefully I can kick on now and play next week.”

Toronto pushed Wigan until the second half, levelling the scores at 10-all, before Joe Burgess’ long-range try broke their resolve.

The Warriors eventually eased to a 32-10 win, a scoreline which perhaps didn’t tell the tale of the game, to condemn the Wolfpack to a third successive defeat.

It’s the first losing run in the Canadian club’s history – last week’s loss at Salford was the first time they had lost back-to-back games since their foundation in 2017.

Coach Brian McDermott said: “I know exactly what Gareth O’Brien could do and he was always going to get into the team at some stage. With Joe Mellor out with a suspected broken hand, let’s hope it’s not for too long, Gaz files in there. He’s a fantastic player Gaz, very solid.

“Is anybody guaranteed shirt in our team? No chance. Everyone has that same level of honesty and same level of attitude towards gaining a shirt.

“He was massively disappointed he wasn’t in the team, I was just looking at some other options.

“I think Gaz played all but one or two games last year, starting at full back. I know exactly what he can do. People like Blake Wallace and Joe Mellor who’ve been playing in different positions, I just think we need to look at them before we really start to warm up in the year.”