The Toronto Wolfpack are used to doing things a little differently to the rest of rugby league, so it should come as no surprise that American back-rower Joe Eichner has taken the road less travelled on his route to professional rugby league. When the Florida native made his professional bow in Saturday's 54-12 victory over Coventry Bears, became the first playing graduate of Last Tackle, the TV reality show that helped the Wolfpack to source some of their North American stars.
Coach Paul Rowley was quick to point out that Eichner's selection against the Bears was far from tokenistic: “Joe is physically very fit and strong. He’s technically naive, but very brave and really popular among the lads. This isn’t a selection for box ticking, but a selection based on merit alone."
Eichner, 25, began life in baseball before picking up union at the University of North Florida. He later signed on with Jacksonville Axemen in the USARL and represented the USA Hawks before trying out for the Wolfpack via Last Tackle. He was among three winners of the show, along with Jamaican Nathan Campbell and Canadian Quinn Ngawati, and the first to take to the field for the Pack.
Mike Meehall Wood