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Veteran Toronto Wolfpack forwards Cory Paterson and Richard Whiting retire


Toronto Wolfpack forwards Cory Paterson and Richard Whiting have announced their retirement from rugby league.

"It's been a dream come true to play the sport I love professionally for the last 13 years but it's time for me to hang the boots up," Paterson, a 31-year-old Australian, wrote in a social media post.

"It's been a fun ride," he added.

The Wolfpack confirmed Whiting's retirement via their own social media feed.

The Toronto season ended Oct. 7 in a 4-2 loss to London Broncos in the Super League promotion showdown known as the Million Pound Game. The Wolfpack, rugby's first transatlantic team, won promotion to England's second-tier Betfred Championship after winning League 1 in their inaugural 2017 season.

The 33-year-old Whiting was one of Toronto's original players, signing on in November 2016.

At six foot four and 222 pounds, Whiting extends like a deck chair when he gets off the turf — hence the nickname Stilts. And he was a hard man — the padding he wore to protect an arm injury this season grew in size as the campaign wore on.

Whiting endured more than his share of injuries during his playing career, suffering a double break of the leg in 2008 after returning from a lengthy absence due to an arm injury.

He began his career as a teenager in 2003 with his hometown Featherstone Rovers before moving to Hull FC where he scored 78 tries in more than 250 appearances. The former England international spent 12 seasons at Hull FC, famous for playing every position.

He eventually left for Leigh Centurions before taking a leap of faith and joining the Wolfpack.

Both players were fan favourites with the Wolfpack, gregarious types who were not afraid to put their body on the line.

Tall, tattooed and bald, Paterson was easy to spot, although hard to tell apart from fellow Aussie forward Jack Buchanan at a distance. With the ball in hand near the goal-line, the hard-running Paterson was difficult to stop.

Paterson joined the Wolfpack for the 2018 season after playing in Australia and England. He made his National Rugby League debut in Australia for Newcastle Knights in 2007 and went on to play for North Queensland Cowboys and Wests Tigers, as well as stints in England for Hull Kingston Rovers, Salford Red Devils and Leigh Centurions.

Wolfpack coach Paul Rowley had signed him at Leigh.

Paterson, whose father has Aboriginal ties, also represented the Indigenous All Stars on three occasions.

The Aussie's resume includes boxing and acting in addition to rugby league. Earlier in his career, a 21-year-old Paterson showcased his kicking skills for the NFL's Oakland Raiders and Arizona Cardinals.

"You could say I've had a bit of an adventurous career, mate," said Paterson upon joining Toronto.

Paterson has studied acting and his resume includes a role in the crime drama "The Dark Return of Time." He won both pro boxing bouts as a heavyweight, saying he did it to challenge himself as an athlete.

In the past, Paterson talked openly about battling depression. In 2010, Billy Slater apologized after Paterson reacted angrily during an NRL match when the Australia and Melbourne Storm star fullback reportedly told him to "Go and have a cry in your room."

In 2011, Paterson made headlines Down Under when, after converting to Islam, he became just the second player in NRL history to tackle the holy month of Ramadan.

 

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Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press

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