This week, we chatted with the Toronto Wolfpack’s Sonny Bill Williams, Ricky Leutele and Josh McCrone to find out how they have been spending their time in lockdown with their families. 

Lockdown as a parent 

The UK has been in lockdown since March, and the Toronto Wolfpack haven’t been able to play a game since their win over Huddersfield Giants in the Challenge Cup. But since then, the Pack have had plenty of time at home to spend with their loved ones.

In Episode 9 of our Keeping Up with the Wolfpack Series, we spoke with Sonny, Ricky and Josh to find out what they have been doing with their children to keep busy during this time.

How is lockdown going for you as a father?

Sonny, Josh and Ricky have been enjoying the time they’ve had to spend with their families - as during this time, they would normally have been playing rugby and travelling for games.

Josh: ‘The way I look at it is... it’s probably a unique time in your life when you’re never going to get to spend this amount of time with your family again. I’m just enjoying being around the kids and the wife. I’m even stepping up and doing some school teaching which is a bit scary.’

In Episode 8 of Keeping Up with the Pack, we spoke to Sonny about how Ramadan and Eid were different for him being in the UK and under lockdown. 

Sonny: ‘To be able to spend 2 or 3 months at home uninterrupted is humbling. It’s beautiful but on top of that, to be able to spend Ramadan here is even more special. 

‘Obviously it’s a big change, for me I’m grateful because we have a backyard and I know a lot of people don’t have that. We’ve got 4 kids, (aged) 5 and under so some days it’s tough but humbling. It’s been a really blessed lockdown period for us. It’s been nice to mellow out and look at things from a different point of view and get a sense of reality, especially for me because I’m not going to be playing sport for my whole life. There’s going to be more times like this I’d say.’

Ricky: ‘It’s been good to be honest, spending a lot of time with my kids every day. I’ve noticed a few traits or characteristics that they’ve got which I didn’t notice before the lockdown so it’s been good and I’m enjoying this time with them… It’s been a blessing in disguise really.’

Favourite activities with the kids?

As well as enjoying their quality time with their partners and children, the Pack’s players have been embracing their new homes - exploring their surroundings and getting exercise with the whole family.

Ricky: ‘Lately we’ve been going for bush walks… we’ve been doing that nearly every day and it’s been good, because back in Australia I probably wouldn’t be doing it because there’s so many snakes.’ 

Josh: ‘Luckily enough, we upgraded their bikes just before lockdown so we got them bikes that are probably a touch too big. So, on days off, we just go for a run… just slowly with the kids on their bikes.’ 

Sonny: ‘I love going for walks in nature. I love it in the mornings - the kids will hear me because it’s creaky when I get up. I’ll get a shower and come back in the room and I’ll hear all the kids running upstairs to come and greet me. Watching movies with them too is a treat because you get to have a relaxing time. Sometimes you get into movies more so than the kids.’

What shows are you watching with your kids?

Sonny: ‘There’s too many. There’s Frozen, Maleficent, Ratatouille - that’s the latest one. So, we’ll be going for walks and I’ll hear them sing songs from Frozen. You tend to pick it up too.’

Josh: ‘At the moment, it’s Bluey. It’s on the Disney Channel here but it’s an Australian show. It’s about a Blue Heeler (Australian Cattle Dog) family, it’s pretty funny.’ 

Ricky: ‘Lately, we’ve been watching Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, so that’s been alright - and a bit of Monsters Inc. That’s on repeat nearly every day.’

Have you tried to introduce them to some classics?

As much as the Toronto Wolfpack players are learning about their children, their kids have the opportunity to learn about them too. Ricky, Josh and Sonny have tried to introduce their little ones to the shows and movies from their childhood - with mixed results!

Ricky: ‘So, I tried to show my son Dragon Ball Z because I watched that growing up - it’s my favourite cartoon. He’s sort of into it, then he gets bored and takes off.’

Josh: ‘They don’t last too long with me. There’s Sesame Street, Noddy, Fireman Sam… but they don’t seem too interested to be honest!’

Sonny: ‘I tried to put on Little Rascals today and my eldest walked out of the room and said “I’m not watching this”.’ 

And finally, favourite kids food?

As social media has become flooded with sourdough starters and banana bread during lockdown, Sonny Bill Williams shared with us that he and his children have been busy in the kitchen too.

Sonny: ‘I love baking with my kids, so we’ve done a lot of baking in the lockdown which I’m guessing a lot of families have done. I don’t mind the sweet things.’

 

Josh McCrone, on the other hand, has been tucking into sweet treats, rather than making them!

 

Josh: ‘I’ve had to settle for Penguins not Tim Tams (an Australian chocolate biscuit), although they’re not a bad substitute.’