Betts praise for youngsters

Vikings Head Coach Denis Betts was disappointed with his side’s performance in front of a “fantastic turnout” at the Select Security Stadium.

A youthful Widnes team was put to the sword by the visitors, with experienced NRL import Kurt Gidley and half-back partner Declan Patton guiding the Wolves to an unanswered seven-try victory.

Speaking in his post-match press conference, Betts said: “At times it wasn’t a pretty watch, in patches we were OK, but we lacked some cutting edge. It just wasn’t a good overall performance.

“I know Warrington had players missing but we probably had 11 Super League starters not playing today.

“Alex Gerrard played pretty well and Matty Whitley showed that he looks very much like a Super League player at the age of 19/20. I was impressed by Ted and Jay (Chapelhow) going forward, they just need a bit more sting defensively.”

Only one of Widnes’ four close season recruits, Corey Thompson, featured in the game. The former Canterbury Bulldogs man managed 25 minutes in the first half as he continues to prepare for the new season with the Vikings.

Betts said: “It was good for Corey to get out there. He came here with a niggle, he had a knee operation to tidy something in his knee before he came. He spent the first four weeks in rehab and then the last two/three weeks on the pitch. He’s not had chance to get up to speed with what we want from him yet, plus he is probably going to play on the wing when Rhys gets back, but he gives us good cover at full back.

“This game is so hard, you don’t do any work on the game and you have a fantastic turnout. It’s hard to plan pre-season when you’re still six weeks out to get to that point where you’re ready to play, most lads aren’t ready to play at this stage.”

Betts was impressed with a number of his young starlets that made their first team bows in the game, including 17-year-old full-back Olly Ashall and 16-year-old hooker Danny Walker.

He added: “Olly showed why he gives us depth in that position, there’s something in that kid that will get better. He’s still got two years in the academy, so he’s going to get better and stronger.

“Danny is a fantastic player. 16 years of age, we probably didn’t see enough of him today, but he’s brave, he’s got a good pass, good kicking game, his awareness around the field is good. He just needs some size and some thickness and he’ll come through in the next couple of years. That’s what this game is about.”

The Vikings next pre-season game is away to Newcastle Thunder on Saturday January 9 (3pm). The next home game is against Halifax on Sunday January 17 (3pm).

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