By Darryl G. Smart
A trio of local rugby players are going to be battling it out in the Thunderdome on Saturday.
Gregory Wise, Chuck Curran, and Travis DePasquale were named to Team East and will take part in the inaugural East-West rugby league Thunderdome game on Saturday at Lamport Stadium in Toronto.
This game is Canada’s version of an All-Star game, put on by the Canada Rugby League Association, pitting the best players from eastern and western provinces.
“Being named to this side is amazing because I get to play with some of the best rugby league players in the country who have a ton of experience,” Wise said. “I’m just excited to be in the fold and happy to be able to show what I can do for this team.”
The East is made up mainly of players from Ontario, and includes past and present Canadian national team players who have represented the Wolverines, while the West consists mainly of players from British Columbia and Alberta
“After watching the high impact training and workout sessions, there is no doubt that this game will be a smash,” Ontario Rugby League (ORL) president Ryan Murray said.
Murray says the East vs West game is based on Australia’s successful State or Origin concept.
“That is exactly what it is,” Murray said. “It all started when the West team head coach Blake Stewart challenged ORL by saying the Ontario Rugby League isn’t doing good enough compared to British Columbia
“We have to say thank you to Bob Jowett (CRLA president), Josh Knight, John Cameron and the Toronto Wolfpack for their assistance with this event.”
Murray continues that it won’t be the only method of selecting national teams, but by putting together high-quality athletes on a stage with high pressure and higher expectations, it’s a great way to find Wolverines and Ravens prospects, as well as provincial level talent.