Toronto Wolfpack sign fullback Gareth O'Brien from Salford Red Devils

The Canadian Press

TORONTO — The Toronto Wolfpack have acquired Gareth O'Brien from Salford Red Devils for an undisclosed fee.

The 26-year-old fullback has played more than 100 games in the Super League. He joined Salford from Warrington for the 2016 season, scoring the drop-goal which saved the Red Devils from relegation last October.

The long-distance kick in extra time gave Salford a 19-18 win over Hull Kingston Rovers in the so-called "Million Pound Game" to ensure the Red Devils remained in the top flight.

O'Brien can play several positions in the backs, starting as a halfback before making the transition to fullback. He also gives Toronto another kicking option.

New Zealand-born Samoan international Quentin Laulu-Togaga'e is Toronto's current No. 1 fullback.

"An opportunity came up to bring in a quality fullback like Gareth and it was too good to miss," Wolfpack coach Paul Rowley said in a statement. "It's rare that a player of his ability becomes available and so, with one eye on succession planning and also the immediate, we have no hesitation in bringing Gareth to the club.

"The competition for places will continue to increase along with our efforts to progress further as the season unfolds."

The Wolfpack, rugby league's first transatlantic team, currently stand fourth in the second-tier Betfred Championship. Toronto (4-1-1) plays at amateur side Kells ARL on Friday in the fourth round of the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup.

"It's a decision me, my partner Chloe and my family are really excited about," O'Brien said of the move to join Toronto. "The club has a lot of ambition and I'm hoping I can contribute to their success. I can't wait to meet the boys and get started."

Salford said O'Brien, who signed a new three-year deal last March, initially told them he did not want to leave the club after Toronto put in a bid.

This offer was turned down and it was reiterated to Toronto that Gareth was not for sale on the basis the club neither wanted nor needed to sell," Salford said in a statement. "Representatives for the player returned the next day requesting permission for Gareth to speak to the Wolfpack.

"The Red Devils while disappointed in this sudden change of heart but, not wishing to retain a player who was not 100 per cent committed to Salford Red Devils, granted the appropriate permission."


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Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press

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