Rugby League Today: Pearson slams Toronto, Widdop could face Wigan & back to school for SBW

A wrap up of the latest news in rugby league.

What’s on site

Toronto Wolfpack coach Brian McDermott insists the sport needs to start doing things differently in the northern hemisphere in order to grow.

Rochdale have announced the signing of Sam Hopkins for the 2020 League 1 season.

Catalans prop Remi Casty will continue in his role as Dragons captain this season.

England women’s star Amy Hardcastle has been included in the Women’s Team of the Decade.

Toronto Wolfpack’s star signing Sonny Bill Williams says he will do whatever he can to help grow the sport of rugby league.

What’s in the papers

Hull FC chairman Adam Pearson has told Toronto Wolfpack to stop moaning and start enjoying being a Super League club, report Hull Live.

Tyla Hepi’s six-year return journey to Super League has seen him working in Australian kitchens, building furniture in New Zealand and learning French, report the Mirror.

York coach James Ford admits he loves the new-found rivalry between Bradford and the Knights, report The Telegraph & Argus.

Sonny Bill Williams has gone back to school after a career at the very top – and is not overly keen on the food, report The Sun.

Steve Price refused to rule Gareth Widdop and Leilani Latu out of contention for Warrington’s season opener at Wigan on Thursday, report Warrington Guardian.

What’s on social

The ball came down with snow on it!

Love them or hate them, you can’t deny that Toronto aren’t making headlines.

What a fantastic promo.

What’s on TV/Radio

There will be live interviews with various Super League representatives on Sky Sports News throughout the day.

Podcast: The Final Hooter 2020 #1 – we are back with a bang!

Episode 46: Love Rugby League Weekly, hosted by deputy editor Drew Darbyshire.

The latest Chasing Kangaroos – An International Rugby League podcast is available to download now.

The latest Howlin’ Hour podcast is available to download now. Toronto Wolfpack founder Eric Perez is a special guest on the show.

The latest Forty20 LIVE podcast is out now.

We’ve got some top video content coming soon (biased, we know).


Hull KR coach Tony Smith turns 53 today.

Also celebrating; ex-St Helens favourite Jamie Lyon (38), Hull FC prop Brad Fash (24) and former Warrington star Nathan Wood (48).Trivia


St Helens, Wigan, Leeds and Bradford are the only clubs to have won the title in the Super League era.


  1. Pearson is right. McDermott and the TWP shills—not to be confused with the TWP fans who aren’t shills—are treating the game like partisan politics and constantly pushing lies as well as over-complaining about literally everything making Super League and rugby league look really bad. Most sports leagues usually have disciplinary measures when teams constantly berate the league.

    RFL needs to publicly chastise TWP and McDermott about their statements by pointing out the facts:

    1. There are 56 Canadians playing in MLR where the salary cap is only 500k, and there’s only one Toronto franchise. As it grows to 3-4 Canadian clubs there will be well over a 100 Canadian players. Vancouver also hosts the World Sevens and Canada is ranked #7 in the world. It does NOT take 20-25 years to develop new players as McDermott and Noble claim. That is only where rugby is completely new; Canada has hundreds of rugby players waiting to be signed. It would have taken 1-2 years for them to have been Super League ready but TWP coaches/admin never bothered.

    2. RFL offers an exemption for RU players switching to RL. In their first year they don’t fall under the cap, and in their second year they only count 50%. They should immediately sign 5 or 7 RU players from Canada and North America instead of complaining about how they have only 23 players and need special treatment.

    3. TWP should follow the same rules as everyone else. Instead of dishonestly saying other clubs have the privilege of having academy players that don’t fall under the cap, TWP too has the privilege of signing RU players that won’t fall under the cap.

    4. Until TWP brings a lucrative Canadian TV deal to the table, their supporters should stop complaining about not getting a cut of the UK TV deal. It is completely reasonable for UK clubs to keep the money for a UK TV deal they worked decades for. If TWP had paid tens of millions for an expansion fee (like which is the norm in North American sports) then they would be right to demand a share of central funding. You can’t take money out when you’re not bringing money in to the league.

    Bonus (5): RFL should actually make it mandatory from the 2021 season that a club must have at least 3 domestic players. So TWP must have at least 3 players of Canadian nationality. Now that would really force them to sign some of those RU guys sitting around in Canada and actually promote the game there because when fans are faced between watching “Rugby with Canadians actually in it” (MLR) versus “Rugby with weird accents played overseas and no Canadians” (TWP) most will go with the former.

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