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Chris Dean extends his stay at Widnes Vikings
11:41am Friday 8th March 2013 in Sport
Vikings centre Chris Dean has signed an extended contract which will keep him at the club until the end of the 2015 season.
Sponsored by Sure Move Widnes Estate Agents for the current season, Chris rejoined the Vikings for a third time, as the club returned to Super League in 2012. Prior to that, the former St. Helens and Wakefield player had enjoyed two previous loan spells with Widnes.
The first of those short-term deals came in 2008 when the centre or second rower made a try-scoring debut for the club in a home defeat to Halifax, before going on to feature in a further 9 games that season.
Now aged 25, Chris admits it is a period of his early career he remembers fondly, stating; "I got a phone call from my Coach at St. Helens at the time who told me that Widnes were interested in taking me on a loan deal, and he suggested that it would be a good opportunity for me to get a few first team games under my belt.
"I have to admit, I was a bit nervous at first but I was welcomed with open arms and that played a massive part in my decision to return to the club on two further occasions."
Dean's second spell at the Vikings consisted of just the one appearance in 2010 before he hooked up with the Stobart Stadium outfit again, albeit on a permanent basis, ahead of the 2012 Stobart Super League season.
Delighted to be offered the opportunity of pulling on the world famous black and white jersey once more, Chris added; "Denis Betts showed a lot of faith in me, by bringing me to the club for a third spell and giving me a chance in his team which I can't thank him enough for. He's brought a lot of confidence back into my game and I'm really enjoying my rugby, as are the rest of my team-mates, so he's obviously doing something right.
"When Denis approached me and offered me an extended stay it was a no-brainier really and I'm thankful it's all sorted. I just want to keep my head down now, not get too far ahead of myself and keep working hard and contributing to the team which is the main thing."
Dean was one of five different try scorers for the Vikings in their 36-16 demolition of Hull FC last weekend and he is pleased to report how, collectively, the current crop of players has come on leaps and bounds in recent times, saying; "At the beginning of last year nobody gave us a chance, but as Denis and the other members of the coaching staff at the club have maintained from day one, it's a work in progress.
"We've been together as a group for over 14 months now and we're getting to that stage where everybody really understands each other. We've got ability in the squad, we're going forward and hopefully we can kick on from the good start we've made in 2013 and push for the Top 8.
"Aside of the disappointing result at Hull KR, the team are going really well and if we can keep our consistency, there's no reason whatsoever why we can't do this.
"The team spirit at Widnes is outstanding and probably the best I've ever experienced at a club. This is showing itself in our performances and the results we're achieving.
"We seem to have bonded a lot more this year and everyone is playing for each other. We all realise that when we go out onto the field, we've got our mates there alongside us."
Vikings Head Coach Denis Betts is a long-time admirer of Chris Dean, and was delighted to see his player put pen to paper on an extended deal at the club, commenting; “I think he is a great signing for us. He is a great bloke to have around the place and he’s a confident and enthusiastic player who can really contribute to the success of this club.
“I’m really pleased that he’s willing to stay here and continue his development, and I’ve got nothing but admiration and respect for the way he applies himself as a professional rugby league player.
“Chris is now starting to realise his potential. He’s big, quick and skilful, and has so much talent, it’s actually quite scary.
“On top of this, the other think I like about him is his great attitude. He is very well respected within our group and quietly admired by all of his peers. He just gets on with things, works hard and takes things in his stride and it is a real pleasure to be around him and coach him.”