Brian McDermott: Toronto Wolfpack's promotion to Super League is 'a fantastic story'
By Sky Sports Rugby League
Last Updated: 06/10/19 9:27am
Brian McDermott believes clubs like Toronto Wolfpack are vital to the future of Super League if the competition is to grow and thrive.
The Wolfpack, formed just three years ago, overcame one of rugby league's traditional clubs Featherstone Rovers 24-6 in Saturday's Million Pound Game to book their place in the top flight for 2020.
Head coach McDermott is in no doubt Featherstone's exploits in the Championship play-offs and Salford Red Devils reaching the Super League Grand Final are fantastic achievements, but was forthright in his views that Toronto and other big-city clubs are what the sport needs to attract more investment.
"It's a fantastic story and I think Super League needs to be able to sell a final to some potential investors or a TV deal which says it's going to be contested by big-city teams," McDermott told Sky Sports.
"In five years' time, if the Super League Grand Final or the Challenge Cup final is still competed by some small towns in the north of England - while Featherstone and Salford are absolutely fantastic stories - where we are going to sell that to is the interesting point.
"If we're competing for a final in five years, and we're sat around a table with mega sponsors or a TV deal, we can say 'look, one of our team starts with Toronto, and the other starts with London, or Barcelona or New York' - that's how the game grows.
"I know there are a few people opposed to us being in the comp, but we can't please everybody, can we?"
The showdown at Lamport Stadium was played in front of the Wolfpack's record crowd of 9,974, emphasising the impact the team has made in a city where rugby league is an unfamiliar sport.
McDermott, who took over from Paul Rowley as Toronto head coach for the 2019 season, hailed the progress the club has made in a relatively short space of time.
"You can't ignore what's going on here," McDermott said. "It's not a manufactured event or a manufactured product.
"It's a strong brand and we've achieved what we should have done 12 months ago, which is get into Super League."