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Vikings can mix it with the big boys
2:45pm Wednesday 11th July 2012 in Vikings news
VIKINGS may have lost their closely fought derby with neighbours St Helens but coach Denis Betts says the game showed they can now be competitive in the top flight.
After enduring plenty of brickbats throughout the year, with some pundits questioning their right to be in Super League, Widnes are now punching their weight again.
Evidence of that was etched in the relieved faces of the Saints supporters filtering out of the Stobart Stadium on Sunday after seeing their side need a last second conversion to maintain a winning record that dates back to 1994.
The home fans – and the coach for that matter – certainly did not treat it like any other defeat.
Betts said: “It is pleasing that we are now competing. We beat Wigan and Huddersfield here and had a go against Leeds and now against St Helens – these are the top sides we are having a dig at.
“I spoke to Mike (Rush) and he was quite magnanimous because he knows it had been a very tough game for his side.
“That is what we want for the fans and the club. They can see the improvements and we are finally starting to reap a bit of the reward of what we have put in.”
Although the result leaves Vikings hovering two points above London Broncos in the battle to avoid the wooden spoon, Betts believes the team will take a boost from the moral victory.
“We know we are in a dogfight because we don’t want to finish bottom. It helps that Bradford beat London, despite all that they have been through.
“I said to the players that we won that game – we have just got to learn how to close the door, look at each other in the eye and say we have done what we came to do.
“It does not look like that in the paper and it won’t be reflected on the scoreboard or the league table, but we won that game without a shadow of a doubt,” Betts said.