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Vikings coaching team extend their stay at the club
1:32pm Monday 7th January 2013 in Vikings news
FOUR key members of Widnes Vikings Performance Department have signed contract extensions until the end of the 2014 Super League season.
First team Head Coach Denis Betts has been joined by his Assistant Coaches; Mick Cassidy and Dave Banks, and Strength and Conditioning Coach Clive Brewer, in penning new deals and committing their immediate futures to the club.
Betts returned to the 13 a-side code in November 2010, when he replaced Paul Cullen as Head Coach at the Vikings.
Since his arrival, Betts has built on the hard work of his predecessors and contributed heavily to the evolution of Widnes Vikings from their part time Championship status to a full time Super League club.
Now two years into life at Widnes, rather than make wholesale changes across the operation, the Vikings’ Head Coach has opted for stability within the coaching staff – a process which is mirrored by his first team playing squad. Delighted to put pen to paper on an extended deal at the club, Betts said: “From day one, my vision has always been about putting something in place and building the foundations to make this club stronger.
“The reality is, these things take time, so I’m really pleased that our Chairman Steve O’Connor and Chief Executive James Rule believe I am the right person to continue this work and take things forward.
“I’ve been extremely fortunate to have been able to put in place some good people in Mick Cassidy and Dave Banks, who coach alongside me and also Clive Brewer, who works extremely hard with the players in the Gym.
“If you have ambitions of achieving anything, what you need is consistency. We have taken some big strides and there is a lot of work still to do, but we are moving in the right direction and this can only be good for the players, the coaching staff and the club.”
Former Great Britain, England and Ireland international, Mick Cassidy served his hometown club Wigan, for 14 years before joining the Vikings in 2005, earning the ‘Player of the Season' award in his first year. After three seasons, Mick left the Vikings and spent a year at Barrow Raiders before returning to the Stobart Stadium to take up the role of Strength and Conditioning Coach and more recently, Assistant Coach.
In 2012, many outsiders looking in often cited the Vikings up and down form as a side effect of the clubs transition from a part-time environment to a full-time operation. Whilst admitting there may have been some truth in the claim, Cassidy insists that no such excuses will be sought in 2013.
He said: “Last year was a massive eye-opener for the coaching staff, whose job was to get the team out onto the field and to get them playing well consecutively. Although it’s fair to say we struggled to achieve this throughout the season, we did start to put some wins together and our performances were far more consistent at the end of the year.
“This pre-season has seen us start from a much higher level than we did twelve months ago. With the extra experience we’ve gained, as a group, we’re confident that we can now build from where we left off and take things to the next stage.
“Individually, I’m really enjoying my time at the club and our working environment is absolutely first class. Working alongside Denis, Clive and Dave means that I’m benefitting and learning from knowledgeable people every single day. We also receive lots of support from our CEO James Rule, who puts a lot of emphasis on team performance and togetherness within the group. With these structures already in place, hopefully we will reap the rewards.”