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Widnes Vikings add Danny Galea to their playing roster
12:54pm Friday 30th August 2013 in Sport
VIKINGS have signed back rower Danny Galea from Canterbury Bulldogs.
The 29-year-old will bring with him bags of expereince from making 130 apperances in the Australian NRL competition with Bulldogs, Penrith Panthers, Wests Tigers and Canberra Raiders.
He is the second back-row signing announced, with Danny Tickle also joining the club from Challenge Cup finalists Hull FC.
Galea highlighted the playing qualities he feels he will bring to the team.
“I’m probably at my best playing through the middle section of the field, and my defence is typically my greatest strength. This is something that I’m determined to build on at Widnes," he said.
“Having said that, wherever Denis Betts chooses to play me, I’ll up for the challenge, and the club and its fans will never get anything less than 100 percent from me when I’m on the field and running around in a Vikings jersey.”
Having been guided by leading Australian coaches like John Lang, Tim Sheens and David Furner, he feels the knowledge he has picked up along the way will stand him and Widnes in good stead for the forthcoming Super League chapter of his playing career.
Galea has played a leadership role in recent seasons and will be a crucial asset in helping to develop Vikings' youngsters as well as what he will offer on the field as a player.
He said: “I’ve learnt a lot from some great coaches over the years and I’ve taken in as much of the information as I possibly can. Although each coach has had his own methods and tactics, collectively, they’ve all played a massive part in influencing my footy career.
“As I’ve got older as a player, I’ve passed on a lot of this knowledge to the younger guys in the team – and I was there not too long ago – so I know exactly how they’re feeling and what they’re thinking.
“I’m really enjoying the leadership-type role that my game has taken on over the past couple of years, and in no way do I think of it as an extra responsibility.
"If anything, I’d like to think that it has improved me as a player and hopefully it has also helped the progression of the young players, especially in the early part of their footy careers, when it can be quite a tough environment.
“Whatever role I’m given, one thing remains the same and that’s the fact that I enjoy playing. At the end of the day, I just want to carry on playing for as long as I possibly can. When the day arrives that I’m not enjoying it anymore, I’ll give it away and stop, but that’s a long way off!”
He can’t wait to have a crack at the Super League competition alongside some familiar company - Vikings' Aussie full back Rhys Hansbury.
“I’m good mates with Rhys from our time spent alongside each other at the Tigers, and I’ve spoken with him on a number of occasions about my desire to come overseas and give it a go," he said.
"One thing led to another and before too long I was contacted by James Rule (chief executive).
"He filled me in on how the club is run and it was clear that he has a fantastic relationship with his staff, and from what he explained, there is plenty of potential at Widnes and they are definitely a club on the rise.
“I’ve obviously spoken with Denis too. He also gave me a run-down on the way things are done at Widnes and what will be expected of me, when I join the group.
“From day one, everything has run smoothly and the process of sorting out the contract was easy.
"I have no doubt whatsoever in my mind that I’ve made the right decision and I genuinely can’t wait to get over there and play my part in making the club grow even more!
“I’m contracted to the Bulldogs until the end of October, but I’m hoping to be over in Widnes the following week. Being of Maltese descent, I’ve already got dark skin and I’m hoping that I’ll be able to adapt to the English weather and all of the sunshine really quickly!”
Hanbury sings the praises of his former Wests Tigers teammate.
He said: “I’ve no doubt whatsoever that Danny will be a good signing for us.
“He is a really honest player and his work ethic in defence and the ability to put on a ‘big shot’ is something that will please not only the players around him on the field, but also our fans.
“He’s played plenty of games in the NRL and actually started out as a centre when he debuted in first grade. Although he’d be first to admit that he’s not as fast as he used to be since moving into the pack, he’s still got the skills and understanding of how to hit a hole and offload a ball, too.
“If I had to make a comparison from within our current group of players for him, then I’d definitely choose Hep Cahill – and we all know what a popular and appreciated player he is!”
Betts revealed the thinking behind the signing.
He said: “We were looking for a solid, hard-working clubman to come in and do a good job for us, make us a better team and contribute to the whole organisation.
“Danny is a really strong back rower and a great defensive player, and we’ve had lots of good raps on him, coming out of Australia.
“With all due respect, a lot of people may not know who he is immediately, but he has a fantastic pedigree and is a former Australian Schoolboys representative.
"He’s played a large number of NRL games at first-grade level and I’m confident that he will surprise a few people when he comes over to these shores and runs out onto the field for us.
“Danny will bring plenty of leadership qualities, hunger, enthusiasm and a wealth of knowledge with him, and the younger players in our group will only benefit from having him as a teammate and a part of the group.”
The signing has been made possible with the support of Viking Quid's In scheme (VIQI), which has provided a five-figure sum to enable the club to secure Galea's services.
VIQI was formed in 1999 and has raised more than £140,000 since its inception.
The main aim of the scheme is to raise funds to directly assist the coach in team recruitment and retention of key players.