FOLLOWING a successful stint with the Toronto Wolfpack in the English Championship, Culburra Dolphins product Jack Buchanan has decided to bring his rugby league talents back to Australia.
The 26-year-old, who made 29 caps for the Wolfpack, helped his side reach the Million Pound Game last season, which they lost 4-2 to the London Broncos.
“I absolutely loved my time with Toronto – being able to travel to another continent to play rugby league was something special,” Buchanan said.
“The Canadians just love their sport – whether it’s basketball, baseball, ice hockey and now slowly learning about rugby league.
“Game day was really like no other place I have played – it was like a party, with beer tents at one end of the field with music and a DJ playing.
“They really do know how to put together an event.
“Also having the chance to play with a lot of great players that I grew up watching in Australia, including Ashton Sims, Josh McCrone and Darcy Lussick, was very enoyable.”
Despite all the fond memories, Buchanan, who played 41 NRL games with the Wests Tigers between 2013 and 2016, was squeezed out of the Wolfpack’s squad for this season due to their overseas player allowance.
“Unfortunately I didn’t decide to leave, I was squeezed out of there,” he said.
“Over in the English competition, each club has a certain amount of oversea player spots and with the club signing the likes of Ricky Leutele and Bodene Thompson, there was no room for me.”
But the Group Seven product didn’t let this faze him too much, starting to look for a club closer to home soon after.
“I got in touch with Burleigh around Christmas time and had a few chats with their CEO Damian Driscoll and coach Jimmy Leniham about the club,” he said.
“We discussed expectations and their philosophy on rugby league and this sold me into wanting to play for Burleigh.
“They have been quite a successful club over the past six years, so I wanted to be apart of that and hopefully have some success of my own – not to mention getting the chance to live on the Gold Coast.”
Buchanan is just one of a number of new signings for the Pizzey Park based club, ahead of their 2019 Queensland Cup campaign.
“I’d like to work my way in to the starting 17 first and foremost, as I started training late after the new year,” he said.
“I personally would just like to bring enthusiasm and good work ethic and put my best foot forward in what ever way is best for the team.
“I would also like to help some of the younger kids among the club with NRL aspirations by passing on some of the knowledge I have gathered over the years.
“From there, I hope we can make a deep run into the finals in my first year playing Queensland Cup – as you don’t know opportunities might present themselves on the back of a strong season.”