Toronto Wolfpack: Brian McDermott confident club’s Super League plans are sustainable | Rugby League News

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Last Updated: 25/09/20 5:34pm

Brian McDermott is confident Toronto's proposals are strong enough to keep them in Super League

Brian McDermott is confident Toronto’s proposals are strong enough to keep them in Super League

Brian McDermott is optimistic Toronto Wolfpack’s proposals for regaining a place in Super League for 2021 will be accepted.

The Canadian club were due to find out on Friday whether they would be allowed to return to the competition in 2021 after former owner David Argyle made the decision to pull out ahead of the season’s restart in August due to financial problems brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic.

However, the decision was deferred to next month when prospective new owner Carlo LiVolsi will be able to outline the business plan the Wolfpack have put together and, with it having received a positive verdict from independent assessors, head coach McDermott is positive about Toronto’s prospects.

I don’t think it’s for me to predict what people are going to say, but I’m confident what we’re putting forward is sustainable.

Brian McDermott

“The presentation we’re making and putting forward, I’m confident about that,” McDermott told Sky Sports News.

“I don’t think it’s for me to predict what people are going to say, but I’m confident what we’re putting forward is sustainable.

“This is an incredible situation where David Argyle pulled out and over a short period of weeks we’ve had to knock together a complete new owner, business plan and presentation to be allowed back into Super League, and I think what we’ve put together is really, really good.

“Given what we’ve already done, given what we’re putting forward, I’m really confident.”

The Wolfpack have been given plenty of high-profile support in their home city backing their bid to remain in Super League, with 2019 National Basketball Association champions Toronto Raptors and the Toronto Argonauts Canadian Football League team among the sporting organisations getting behind them.

City mayor John Tory, who presented the trophy to the Wolfpack after winning last year’s Million Pound Game, wrote to show his support as well and McDermott believes that is a sign of how much the team have embedded themselves in North America’s fourth-largest city.

The former Leeds Rhinos head coach pointed to them regularly attracting four-figure attendances at Lamport Stadium in League One and the Championship, along with a recent survey of sports fans in the area which showed 1.7M identified as avid Wolfpack supporters as well.

And while he acknowledged the club have improvements to make in how they conduct their off-field affairs, McDermott is in no doubt it would be wrong for Super League to turn its back on the North American expansion bid.

“If a decision is made that Toronto are not allowed in, I think it’s a big call,” McDermott said.

“I say that with complete understanding of the situation of Super League owners, chief executives and chairmen.

“I understand the fans’ fears, everybody involved loves our game and they don’t want the product to be damaged.

“I know there is a frustration within rugby league that we’re not as big as we want to be, so if you’re going to say no to us it has got to be for real credible reasons to say that we’re going to hurt the future of rugby league and I don’t think that will be the case.”

Toronto have made a big impact in their home city

Toronto have made a big impact in their home city

If Toronto are accepted back into Super League for 2021, it will leave McDermott and his staff with little time to assemble a squad for next year – something which is not helped by a significant number of players having already departed after not being paid for the past four months.

LiVolsi has pledged to repay the around £1million owing in outstanding wages as part of taking over the club and McDermott revealed he has had positive conversations with players over returning next year.

They include cross-code superstar Sonny Bill Williams, who is currently playing for Sydney Roosters in the NRL, and McDermott sees the fact players still want to represent Toronto as a significant endorsement.

“I’m pretty excited that we’ve got a blank piece of paper and we’re able to knock a squad together to be really competitive next year,” McDermott.

Brian McDermott is optimistic Sonny Bill Williams could return for Toronto in 2021

Brian McDermott is optimistic Sonny Bill Williams could return for Toronto in 2021

“I’ve been ringing some players over the last 48 hours just to let them know where we’re at – some of these players are at other clubs at the moment – and they’re all saying: ‘We’re going to stick with it, coach, and we want to be there’.

“I think that’s the biggest endorsement you could ever had about has this thing got legs.”