How do Toronto compare to other promoted teams after six games?

5th March 2020, Emerald Headingley, Leeds, England; Betfred Super League, Leeds Rhinos v Toronto Wolfpack : Sonny Bill Williams of Toronto Wolfpack looks on as Leeds Rhinos go 12-0 up.

Toronto Wolfpack are six defeats from six in their maiden Super League season – but how does that compare to other promoted clubs over the years?

Although the Wolfpack haven’t yet played a Super League game in Canada, two of their six games are classed as “home” games, which they have been forced to take on the road to Leeds and Warrington.

They have another three league games to navigate before Hull are the first visitors to Lamport Stadium on April 18.

It has been a tough start – Toronto have played last season’s top five as well as Leeds, the competition’s most successful club.

Question marks remain over their squad, particularly in light of their salary cap struggles, and the so called elephant in the room that is the threat of relegation has already been mentioned by coach Brian McDermott.

James Cunningham. Wakefield Trinity 19 v. London Broncos 10 – Betfred Super League XXIV Round 29 – 13th September 2019

2019 – London Broncos – W2 L4 (Finished 12th, relegated)

Danny Ward’s Broncos produced one of the stories of 2019, as they took the relegation battle right to the wire, despite being written off by virtually every one before the season started.

They opened with a home victory over Wakefield, who had finished 5th in the previous season, before away defeats to Salford and Hull KR. A home defeat to Castleford followed, before a fine 18-16 win over Wigan.

Their sixth game was a 26-0 defeat to St Helens, though they would win their seventh game 18-16 over Leeds (this was a round six fixture, though the Hull KR game was a round 10 fixture brought forward).

Sadly, despite winning 10 of their 27 fixtures, London were relegated at the first attempt.

Wakefield (H – W42-24), Salford (A – L0-24), Hull KR (A – L12-22), Castleford (H – L6-40), Wigan (H – W18-16), St Helens (A – L0-26)

11 Hull KR 29 10 0 19 548 768 −220 20
12 London 29 10 0 19 505 787 −282 20

 

Super League Leeds Rhinos v Hull KR Thurday 8 Febuary at Elland Road

2018 – Hull KR – W2 L4 – (Finished 10th, then 3rd in The Qualifiers)

After their heartbreaking relegation in that famous Million Pound Game at home to Salford, Hull KR bounced back immediately after romping through the Championship and The Qualifiers in 2017.

A televised start at home to Wakefield didn’t go as planned, as they were beaten 28-6, but they did at least show signs of encouragement in a high-profile game at Elland Road the following week, where they went down to Leeds.

A round 12 fixture brought forward to the World Club Challenge weekend saw a first win of the season over Catalans, before back-to-back defeats on the road to Salford and Catalans.

After finishing 10th in the regular season, Hull KR avoided relegation by finishing third in The Qualifiers – condemning Toronto and London to the Million Pound Game.

Wakefield (H – L6-28), Leeds (A – L11-20), Catalans (H – W23-4), Salford (A – L12-36), Catalans (A – L16-18), Huddersfield (A – W38-6)

10 Hull KR 23 8 1 14 476 582 −106 17
11 Salford 23 7 0 16 384 597 −213 14
12 Widnes 23 3 0 20 387 653 −266 6

 

Million Pound Game Leigh v Catalans – Saturday 30 September

2017 – Leigh – W3 L3 – (Finished 11th, then 4th in The Qualifiers, relegated)

Determined to do better than in their only other season in Super League back in 2005, the Centurions would have survived – but for the controversial Super 8s system.

They started with three wins from their first six, including wins over St Helens and Warrington, as well as suffering a narrow defeat to Leeds.

Over the 23-game regular season, they did enough to finish 11th – but would be relegated after one season once again, losing at home to Catalans in the Million Pound Game.

Castleford (A – L16-44), Leeds (H – L14-17), St Helens (H – W24-16), Wigan (A – L0-20), Huddersfield (H – W30-0), Warrington (H – W22-8)

11 Leigh 23 6 0 17 425 615 −190 12
12 Widnes 23 5 1 17 359 632 −273 11

 

Widnes v Wigan

2012 – Widnes – W1 L5 (Finished 12th, no relegation)

Widnes were parachuted in to Super League courtesy of the licensing system, and endured a dismal 2012 season, shipping more than 1000 points to finish bottom.

With no relegation in that era, the Vikings earned a reprieve, and would at least bounce back in future years to reach the play-offs.

Their only win in the opening six came at home to a understrength Wigan side, who were fearful of the much-maligned iPitch, Lloyd White’s drop goal earning the Vikings a 37-36 win.

Prior to that, they had suffered hammerings at the hands of Wakefield, Huddersfield, Salford, Leeds and Hull KR.

Wakefield (H – L14-32), Huddersfield (A – L6-66), Salford (H – L18-38), Leeds (H – L16-44), Hull KR (A – L0-36), Wigan (H – W37-36)

13 Castleford 27 6 0 21 554 948 -394 12
14 Widnes 27 6 0 21 532 1082 -550 12

 

2009 – Salford – W1 L5 – (Finished 13th, no relegation)

Salford were given a licence for 2009, though they did finish top of the Championship in 2008 anyway – losing the relatively meaningless Grand Final to Celtic Crusaders, who were also elevated to Super League as the league expanded to 14 teams.

The two would meet in the very first game of the season, Salford winning 28-16, before the Reds would then lose their next five fairly handsomely under coach Shaun McRae.

Celtic (H – W28-16), Wakefield (A – L10-29), Castleford (A – L16-52), Harlequins (H – L18-48), St Helens (A – L12-38), Wigan (H – L12-38)

2009 – Celtic Crusaders – L6 – (Finished 14th, no relegation)

Prior to that game against Salford, Crusaders had already opened up their debut Super League campaign with a defeat to Leeds, in a game brought forward to the World Club Challenge.

Crusaders, like Toronto, would lose all six of their opening games – including defeats to Leeds, Hull, St Helens and Warrington.

They can point to being competitive though – they lost just 4-0 to St Helens, were beaten by five by Warrington and eight by Hull.

They would manage just three wins all season, though with no relegation in place in that era, lined up in Super League again in 2010.

Leeds (A – L6-28), Salford (A – L16-28), Hull (H – L20-28), St Helens (H – L0-4), Hull KR (A – L 18-48), Warrington (A – L22-27)

13 Salford 27 7 0 20 456 754 –298 14
14 Crusaders 27 3 0 24 357 874 –517 6

 

2008 – Castleford – W1 L5 – (Finished 12th, no relegation)

Rugby league’s yo-yo club of the 2000s, Castleford had already been relegated from Super League twice in 2004 and 2006, although the latter only due to Catalans being exempt.

Both times they had successfully secured a return to the top flight at the first attempt, but they endured a tough start in 2008 – winning just one of their first six.

That win came over Leeds, 38-20 at The Jungle. They won just two of their first 14 games, and finished bottom again – although reprieved from relegation due to the introduction of the licensing system from 2009 onwards.

Catalans (H – L14-21), Wigan (A – L16-28), Huddersfield (A – L12-64), Harlequins (H – L16-22), Leeds (H – W38-20), Hull KR (A – L4-20)

11 Hull 27 8 1 18 538 699 −161 17
12 Castleford 27 7 1 19 593 869 −276 15

 

James Webster leads out Hull KR for their first Super League match

2007 – Hull KR – W4 L2 – (Finished 11th)

Hull KR had waited a long 23 years for their top flight return, and they didn’t disappoint.

With a coach and a team that had earned their right for a maiden Super League season by romping through National League 1 in 2006, the Robins had a dream start, winning four of their first five games.

That started with a home win over Wakefield, and within their first six, they would also beat Wigan and Leeds.

A seven-match losing streak would dampen spirits somewhat, but they still did more than enough to avoid relegation, with Salford going down that year.

Wakefield (H – W14-9), Huddersfield (A – W17-10), Harlequins (H – L10-26), Wigan (A – W26-16), Leeds (H – W22-20), Warrington (A – L12-30)

11 Hull KR 27 10 0 17 491 723 −232 20
12 Salford 27 6 1 20 475 874 −399 13

2006 – Castleford – W3 L3 – (Finished 11th, relegated)

Victims of arguably the most controversial relegation in Super League history, Castleford went straight back down despite finishing off the bottom – the exemption of Catalans protecting the French club from the drop.

At the start of 2006, they were hammered by Hull and St Helens, but recovered to beat Catalans, Harlequins and Leeds in three of the next four.

It wasn’t enough though, and they would go down courtesy of the infamous battle of Belle Vue, losing to Wakefield in the final round.

Hull (H – L18-42), St Helens (A – L8-44), Catalans (H – W34-28), Leeds (A – L14-66), Harlequins (A – W34-20), Wigan (H – W38-18)

10 Wakefield 28 10 0 18 591 717 −126 20
11 Castleford 28 9 1 18 575 968 −393 19
12 Catalans 28 8 0 20 601 894 −293 16

6 Comments

  1. If Toronto get relegated, then that’s what happens. The other SL clubs will be happy with their extra share of the funding and the fact they won’t have to travel too far, although Castleford to Wakefield and Warrington to St Helens is too far for so many.
    So it would be sad for the game in many ways if they get relegated but they will have to improve to avoid it.

  2. Toronto take no funding , and should be given dispensation in their first year. Primarily because they are coming from a developing area, Catalan got it why not Toronto, for the sake of developing and promoting this League Toronto has been a good vehicle, bring up two teams from championship ….To hard for newly promoted clubs to stay up in one year, it is hard to build a SL quality squad in a semi professional league and pay the quality players you need the dollars to keep them…. so give Toronto two seasons that’s fair and any other promoted team

  3. Lets judge them when they have true home advantage in Canada and see how other clubs react to the journey across the pond. Catalans found it hard to win away in the early times.
    We need Toronto to succeed if we want to broaden the game to the Americas and the world, as if we get more teams there they will be able to set up a rival league that we can promote with the likes of a Magic weekend/week either in the Americas or UK or end of season Top Four competition rather than playing each other up to 3 times in a season. It would also open up the Super League to another British/European side to compete in the league.
    We could tap in to more talent in the Northern Hemisphere that is waiting in the wings, instead of relying on the Australian League up starters and seasoned professionals two steps from retirement. Our seasoned professionals and youngsters could take up positions in the Canada/American teams to improve their skills and coach their local players, allowing more people to have a chance of playing the game.
    Even if we like or dislike the thought of Toronto in the Super League we need to embrace the effort of them promoting the game past the M62 corridor, just like London, Catalans, Cumbrian Hotbed, and the Welsh teams have all done in Super League.

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