Former American footballer Gaddis excited by RL opportunity with Sharks

Monte Gaddis has joined Shaw Cross Sharks.
Monte Gaddis has joined Shaw Cross Sharks.

Shaw Cross Sharks have announced the signing of former Toronto Wolfpack trialist, Monte Gaddis.

Gaddis, 24, is a former college American football linebacker and rugby league second rower from Cleveland, Ohio.

Gaddis played American football for Towson University and professionally for the Gdynia Seahawks in Poland.

Gaddis is now hoping that it will give him a platform to show what he can do on a rugby field.

He said: “I am very excited about coming back over to the UK and hopefully to get better. I’m still learning new things about the game everyday. Shaw Cross is a great opportunity for me.”

Gaddis was part of the Toronto Wolfpack trial squad but was not selected to be in their debut season in Kingstone Press League One.

But that has not shaken him from his goal of making it to the professional ranks of the game.

He said: “Things like my tackling are fundamentals but I have had to put American football to the side and erase it from my mind so I could pick up all the rugby league information.”

Despite playing second row in the Toronto trial squad Gaddis is keen to show people what he can do on the wing and has already expressed a desire to better the club’s top try tally from last season.

He said: “I want to get the chance to play as a winger, to show people my speed and show I can finish moves with a try. I saw last year that two guys had 10 tries, I want to get over 10 tries this year. Mostly I just want a winning season, I saw last year it wasn’t a great season and I just want to come in and make an impact.”

Toronto board member Adam Fogerty, who initially contacted Gaddis about trialling with Toronto, said: “He is 100 per cent committed, he is a great kid and he will give you a 100 per cent effort. He is an athlete, he came from American football and he has the potential to do someone a good job, he is just so raw to the game.”

The drive of Gaddis was there for all to see when in 2015 he camped outside the practice ground of NFL side Cleveland Browns until they gave him a chance to show what he could do on the gridiron.

Shaw Cross Sharks head coach Brett Turner feels that the enthusiasm of Gaddis is something that will greatly benefit his team this season.

He said: “I am really excited about it and I think the move will benefit both parties. He is really enthusiastic and that was something last year we missed so we can have no shortage of it. We have had no shortage of enthusiasm so far in pre-season.

“The more enthusiasm the better and I think he will bring that with him as well as some fantastic athletic ability. I think he will be a massive asset.”

Gaddis has extended his thanks to Shaw Cross and is excited by the opportunity that he has been given for this season.

He said: “I want to thank everyone at Shaw Cross for the opportunity because it’s big for me and the club and I hope that we can help each other out.”

Gaddis was due to arrive in England on Tuesday and will immediately join up with Sharks, who are continuing preparations for the National Conference Division One season, which begins with a trip to Huddersfield side Underbank Rangers on Saturday March 11.