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Defeat gives Vikings a reality check
2:26pm Wednesday 20th February 2013 in Vikings news
VIKINGS boss Denis Betts was not too overly concerned by the heavy defeat his side suffered on Humberside at the weekend.
He described the 44-18 loss as a “reality check” rather than a game that will wreck the team’s early season confidence.
With no game this weekend, due to scheduled opponents Leeds playing in the World Club Challenge against Melbourne, Vikings have an extra long run up before Hull FC head to the Stobart Stadium a week on Saturday.
For that game Vikings will have Kevin Brown lined up for his debut, something Betts feels will have a massively beneficial impact on the team.
Betts said: “We were going to get stung and punched on the nose a few times this season because we are still on a learning curve as a group.
“Bringing Kevin Brown in will really help us, Gaz Hock is fitting in well and enjoying being part of this group and I don’t think we have seen the best out of Joe Mellor, Lloyd White and Rhys Hanbury yet.
“As a group – Kev Brown is here as a half back to give us some shape when we are under pressure and give us a leadership quality on the pitch.
“We will be putting someone there who can do that, but everyone around him is still on that learning curve but game time will make them better.”
Meanwhile Hock has continued to find his feet after undergoing surgery in the off-season.
He, too, will have an even stronger presence in the weeks to come.
“He has not played for six months,” Betts said.
“The easiest thing would have been to say right Gaz, you’re and international, go and play. I don’t want to burn him out, I want to integrate him into our way of doing things.
“We have built that up – from 44 minutes against Saints to 65 against Hull KR - he looks good, he feels strong and the shoulder is in good shape. He has found his feet and now he is ready to look at a starting position.”
In Sunday’s physical exchanges Vikings sorely missed the punch that suspended prop Ben Cross gives them.
Nothing went right, with the decision to disallow an early try for a forward pass being a crushing blow from which Vikings never recovered.
Betts said: “Sunday was more of a reality check than a confidence shatterer. On the day we had a lot of players who under-performed.
“They scored two tries off our dropped balls, one off a bomb that 99.9 per cent of the time would have been taken, Gaz Hock makes a poor read and then Phil Joseph misses a tackle – his first since joining us - and then suddenly we are looking at 34-0.
“When we tidied ourselves up in the second half and got back to working our sets out a bit better there was not much in the game.”