It’s safe to say that the Widnes Vikings are not exactly having a season that they would have hoped for back in round one. Poor results and frustrating performances have left the Widnes Vikings bottom of the Super League, with the middle 8’s an inevitability and staring down the abyss of a potential relegation to the Championship.
The season has been a tough one, perhaps too tough for Dennis Betts, who after 8 years at the helm of the Vikings, was relieved of duty, with Francis Cummins appointed interim head coach. Things aren’t looking so great for the Vikings, but here are some key factors that suggest that Widnes can still pull through and save their Super League Status
They Have Players Returning from Injury
Widnes have had a disaster in keeping players fit this season. At one point, Denis Betts labelled his club an accident and emergency department. They’ve had pretty significant injuries, including two broken legs to contend with early in the season. To top it all, fan favourite Hep Cahill has been ruled out for the rest of the season due to an Achilles injury.
It’s understandable that a side that has been forced to play the season without key players wouldn’t be in a strong position in the league, and now that those players who were injured early on are starting to feed back into the team, you can expect the Vikings to be boosted by the return of some key names.
They have Some Key Players of Real Quality
When your side is up against it, you always look to those key figures who can produce those moments of magic for you. Those key players can define the season and can be the difference between success and failure.
When you look at the Widnes team, it’s fair to say that they have some players who can stand up and be counted, and make the difference for the club. Rhys Hanbury is a man of huge talent. He has been one of the first names on the team sheet ever since arriving at Widnes, and time and time again he has showed his talent and class.
Hanbury has often been able to give the Vikings that magic moment in a game which boosts the team and also the fans. Add into the mix Joe Mellor, who again has a lot of flair at his disposal and can have a positive effect on the outcome of a game single-handedly.
Combine the hard work of players such as Aaron Heremaia and Danny Craven, mixed in with the exciting style of new boy Weller Hauraki, and the Widnes fans will know that all it takes is one of their key players to stand up and be counted.
They’ve Come Through the Playoffs Before
If there is a team that knows what it takes to come through the playoffs, it’s Widnes. Last season, Widnes went into the final game of the middle 8’s against Catalan Dragons, knowing that the loser of the game would go into the “million-pound game” and face a nervy 80 minutes to decide their fate.
At the Stade Gilbert Brutus, the odds were firmly stacked against the Vikings, yet they came through in the last minute of the game. The game itself was arguably the best performance that Widnes had put in all season. Every player put their body on the line and gave everything that they had to keep the club where it deserved to be.
The Vikings have been in the middle 8’s multiple times and have always played good rugby to get themselves clear of danger. They know what it takes to come through and survive, and that experience and confidence that it brings is vital.
Widnes will go into the middle 8’s knowing what it takes to get the job done, and that can really play a big part in the road to survival.