Radford admits concerns over Toronto trip but backs their Super League inclusion

Hull FC head coach Lee Radford believes his club could be disadvantaged by being the first Super League side to visit Canada.

The Airlie Birds face newly-promoted Toronto Wolfpack at Lamport Stadium on Saturday, April 18 as the competition goes transatlantic for the first time.

Super League clubs must now decide on the best approach for the fixture, which incorporates an eight-hour flight and a five-hour time difference on arrival.

Radford, who has supported the Wolfpack project since it began, has admitted worries over travel arrangements and says their first trip will be a learning experience.

“Whatever we do first time for Toronto, we’re probably not doing it second and third time,” he told the assembled media.

“I’m hearing we’re going really late, which is a worry in terms of sleep and preparation for a game. From what I’m led to believe, it’s the only option so that’s going to be a suck it and see.

“I genuinely think it’s going to be a suck it and see, give it a clap if you get the result, and complain about everything if you don’t.”

The Round 11 fixture, which kicks off at 1.30pm local time, will be the Wolfpack’s first Super League game at home and will likely attract big interest from around the city.

Hull will visit Lamport Stadium to take on the Wolfpack in Round 11.

With different flight times to those used by Championship clubs, along with many other unknowns, Radford doesn’t believe being the first Super League club to visit Toronto will help their cause.

“We’ll be the guinea pigs, come back and complain about everything and everybody else will get it fixed,” he said with a smile.

“I don’t see any benefit for being the first team to go over there except for the size of the crowd and the anticipation going into the game.

“The bigger the crowd the better for the sport, so being the first opponents on their soil will be a good thing for us.”

Speaking of crowds and the Hull boss is expecting a huge turnout not only from the Wolfpack supporters, but also the travelling Old Faithful.

“I think their crowds have been really good in the Championship and I think they’ll grow another leg in Super League,” said Radford.

“We’re notorious for (having a big away following), Magic Weekend we predominantly take the most along with Challenge Cup semi-finals, if it’s a double header.

As mentioned, Radford has supported the Wolfpack’s vision since the very beginning and is hopeful their promotion to Super League can help grow the game on both sides of the world.

“We actually played Toronto as their first fixture at the KCOM Stadium and now we’re going to be the first Super League game on their home soil, so there’s a bit of affiliation there.

“I really want Toronto to work, I really wanted them to come up, I really like the fact that the owner’s financially backing them like he is.

“If we can get little Canadians running about with a rugby league ball, then it can only be really good for the sport.”

Toronto have been making headlines across the world during the off-season following the megastar signing of Sonny Bill Williams from rugby union.

All eyes will be on Sonny Bill Williams when he makes his Toronto home debut in April.

Having secured such a big name, ‘Radders’ believes his acquisition, combined with major signings elsewhere, will benefit the sport during this crucial period.

“He (Sonny Bill) is a great coup, great signing for Super League in a really critical time for the sport.

“With the Sky deal coming up around the corner, the more names we can get through the door, with that substance behind it, the better.

“I think we’ve done our part with some of the players that we’ve brought in, Wigan have gone big as well and Warrington are notoriously going big.

“The fact that a bloke like Sonny Bill Williams is coming to Super League is a really good thing.”

avatar
  Subscribe  
Notify of