The problem with being perfect

Yes. The title of this article is somewhat snarky but I just couldn’t resist, sorry about that. It does imply however, that there is a cost to being perfect and that price may be too much for the Toronto Wolfpack to pay, considering they are now a perfect 10-0 in League One. Trust me, I am not here to make you feel sorry for them. I’d rather have the Wolfpack suffer the slings and arrows of a perfect record, than gain any form of sympathy that this “problem” might evoke. Nonetheless, it might still be fun discussing.

Win number 10 came at the hands of the South Wales Ironmen at Merthyr Tydfil (pronounced mər-thər-ˈtid-ˌvil\ ) this past weekend. Side Note: One of the best things about the Toronto Wolfpack is that they play teams from places I most likely have not heard of. So it is refreshing to hear names such as Merthyr Tydfil as compared to places around here that I am accustomed too. End of the side note and now back to the game.

The 66-0 score may seem one sided, and with all due respect, it is. But for those who watched the full 80 minutes, you came away with more respect for the Ironmen then when you started. How could you not? Yes, the weather was atrocious and responsible for some sloppy play by Toronto, but the weather also impacted South Wales. The fact that the Ironmen were able to keep the Wolfpack scoreless for the first 16 minutes was quite the accomplishment, not to mention almost opening the scoring themselves. The Wolfpack had to earn their victory as their opponents kept on fighting.

If you take a step back you might stop to wonder, “Wait a second, did I feel this exact same way about the Coventry Bears just last week?” The answer would be yes; yes you did. Based on their records alone, that contest as well should have been a cakewalk for the North American team. Thirty minutes into that game it was still only 8-4 for the Wolfpack, very much anyone’s game. The Bears and the Ironmen both came ready to play, but they weren’t the only ones. The Barrow Raiders also came out strong against Toronto and they even managed to open the scoring themselves.

 

The problem with being perfect therefore, is that everyone at every moment is gunning for you. Everyone wants to be the team that breaks your record and in doing so, make a name for themselves. It is a fantastic opportunity for the opponents and as a fan, quite exciting to know that they will give you their very best game.

I mean, why wouldn’t they? They have nothing to fear. If they lose, well, they were supposed to lose. If they lose badly, well, they were supposed to lose badly. Anything else however becomes the unexpected; and the unexpected, is an opportunity for greatness. In essence, the Toronto Wolfpack by virtue of being perfect, are providing players and teams the opportunity to showcase themselves.

Toronto Wolfpack player getting tackled

We have already seen it these past three games in how hard the opponents come out firing. It takes the Wolfpack some time to adjust to it, but adjust they do and then begin to exert their will. But as each victory increases the streak, it also increases the pressure, making it even harder to get the next victory.

Last year the Toulouse Olympique did not lose during the season but they were in a slightly different situation as they had tied one game (vs the Rochdale Hornets) early on. They didn’t have the pressure of being perfect but they did carry the weight of being undefeated. Having said that, it would be wise for the Wolfpack to learn from their history and be forewarned not to repeat it. Toulouse did eventually get promoted last year, but they had to play a couple of extra games to get there. The only game they lost was to that very same Hornets team right after the Super 8s and that forced them into a more difficult route to promotion. Toronto, I’m sure, would like to avoid that and quite simply take the shorter path to the Championship League. To do this though, they too must match the intensity of their opponents and will also need to get better week after week as their competition chases them.

Toronto Wolfpack player on the run

As the season moves forward, the Toronto Wolfpack will have to understand that they have bigger challenges and bigger obstacles to overcome. Mind you, I don’t think Coach Rowley or the rest of the team would have it any other way. The strongest steel is made from the hottest fires and therefore they see this as an opportunity for the team to get even better. So yes, despite the score lines the Wolfpack continue to amass, the games are getting harder and harder. As arduous and demanding as that is, I believe the team and the fans relish the challenge.

Afterall, we don’t have a problem with being perfect. (wink, wink)

10 Replies to “The problem with being perfect”

  1. Must be hard at the top! On the top of UK 3rd division anyway. It is, however, a step that must be taken. It gives the team and management time to consolidate and iron out issues before landing in Super League. In addition to that, if you succeed in super league you may also play in a world club series against Australian clubs.

    You are slowly becoming more known in Australia. There are media articles in the Australian press about Josh McCrone’s possible move to Toronto. He is 30 and has played over 100 NRL games. So it looks like they are starting to look ahead for players who can get the team promotion into Super League from the second division.

    When you get to Super League it’s possible some clubs will bring over 1000 fans to Toronto and the games will be much closer. So it is only gonna become more fun for fans in Toronto.

    1. Hi Paul,

      You are absolutely correct. It is a necessary step in the evolution of the team and the sport of Rugby League in Toronto. I think most people are loving it (considering all the losing teams Toronto has had for the longest time) but I was worried about some of the backlash. Teams like Barrow for example were so close to getting promoted last year and then Toronto comes along and makes the path more difficult. Glad to see that the Wolfpack coverage is gaining steam down under, we believe in the end that it benefits all of rugby.
      One day in the future we may be lamenting our place on the Table and thinking.. remember the good ol’days when we beat everyone by 50 points!
      One day… but not today :o) Cheers!

  2. I think Toronto,, for many years now has been considered the underdog in a number of sports. The Wolfpack is finally seeing a chance for Toronto to have a number one team, even if it is in the 3rd division.

    I would love to see a scenario not only where there are that number of fans going to a Toronto fixture but there are that number of fans that would follow a Toronto team to an away game.

    All in all, I can only see it doing good for the world of rugby at the moment and hope it continues.

  3. Hi Dave,

    Yes.. it feels good to be the team for once that everyone else is gunning for! I am not sure I agree with Underdog, but definitely Toronto is usually an outsider. The only Canadian team in the NBA or MLB and now the only Canadian team in the RL.

    The trek to the UK might be a bit expensive and a bit of a turn off for fans at the moment, but Toronto fans do travel well. We have seen it with the Maple Leafs and Raptors and most recently again in Seattle where the stadium was filled with Blue Jays fans. So they are passionate and we will rock whatever house we go visit!
    Cheers!

    1. If in 10 years time Toronto are playing in a final at Wembley I’m sure a few fans would travel to the uk for the experience. Same for a World Club Series match in Lang Park (aka as Suncorp Stadium) in Brisbane.

      You guys should check out the next rugby league game for PS and Xbox when it is released. I’ve heard that Toronto will be a team option. It’s called Rugby League Live 4 and is released later this year.

  4. I am sure a number would travel for such an event. Unfortunately, I don’t think Chris and I will want to wait that long as we hope to make a trip to the UK a little sooner than that.

    With regards to the up and coming Rugby League Live 4 video game…. seriously? I’m not sure I really want to buy a game that my kids will not only destroy me in again and again, but laugh hysterically at my struggles. I may have to hide it from them. :o)

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