THERE will be familiar faces aplenty in the Toronto Wolfpack side that faces The Wire tonight.

Of the 20-man squad named by Brian McDermott, seven of them have either played for Warrington Wolves or are from Warrington.

We take a look at Toronto’s Warrington connections here:


There are still plenty of Wire fans that rue his departure for Salford in 2016. He left as a promising half-back but is now in the full-back role for the Canadians.

The Warringtonian made 62 appearances for his hometown club.

Warrington Guardian:

Gareth O'Brien in action against Wigan. Picture by Alex Whitehead/


After joining in 2014, Russell touched down 31 times in 94 Wire appearances, including the opening try in the 2016 Challenge Cup Final loss to Hull FC.

Russell fell out of favour under Steve Price, with the signing of Josh Charnley pushing him down the pecking order before he joined the Wolfpack midway through the 2018 campaign.

Warrington Guardian:

Matty Russell in action for The Wire against St Helens at the 2014 Magic Weekend. Picture by Mike Boden


A player who could be seen as one that got away, Mellor is Warrington-born and attended Cardinal Newman RC High School as well as playing his junior rugby at Latchford Albion.

He was also on The Wire’s scholarship books but was snapped up by Wigan. From there, he went onto Widnes before joining the Wolfpack prior to last season.

Warrington Guardian:

Joe Mellor during his Widnes days. Picture by Richard Sellars/PA Wire


Ackers was another player in the Wire academy but the lively hooker was released without making a first-team appearance.

Successful spells with Swinton Lions and London Broncos followed before making the move to Toronto in 2018.

Warrington Guardian:

Andy Ackers. Picture by Chris Magnall/


A former pupil of St Gregory’s Catholic High School in Great Sankey, Dixon joined Toronto when they first started in 2017.

He was sent off when the Wolfpack met The Wire in the 2018 Challenge Cup for punching Wire second rower Harvey Livett.

Warrington Guardian:

The skirmish that saw Andrew Dixon sent off when Toronto met The Wire in the 2018 Challenge Cup. Picture by Mike Boden


A signing from Leigh Centurions towards the back end of the 2018 season, Thompson established himself as a fixture in the Wire back row for the remainder of the year.

He started that year’s Super League Grand Final but news of his release was already known prior to the defeat to Wigan.

Warrington Guardian:

Bodene Thompson reflects on The Wire's 2018 Super League Grand Final defeat. Picture by Dave Gillespie


After signing from St Helens, Wheeler’s two years with The Wire were beset by injuries meaning he played just 12 times for the club.

He too joined the Wolfpack when they first started in 2017.

Warrington Guardian:

Gary Wheeler had an injury-stricken spell at Warrington. Picture by Mike Boden

Other players who have played for both sides include Ashton Sims, Joe Westerman, Ryan Bailey and James Laithwaite.

Jake Emmitt, another former Wolfpack player, was born in Thelwall, attended Lymm High School and played junior rugby league for Woolston Rovers and Crosfields as well as rugby union for Lymm.