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Vikings' work does not end with final match of the season
7:20am Wednesday 12th September 2012 in Vikings news
VIKINGS may have played their last game of their first season back in the top flight – but the club will be rolling on with the next phase of their advancement to make sure they hit the ground running in 2013.
That is the view of boss Denis Betts, who praised the spirit and effort of his charges over the course of the last three months in particular.
Although defeat by Warrington on Sunday left Vikings rooted to the foot of the top table for the first time in their history, the fact that the crowd stayed until the end to applaud the lap of honour gave an indication of satisfaction.
Betts declared: “It is not the end of our season, it is the end of the phase of what we want to do. “We have got to a stage where we have been competitive over the last six to eight weeks.
“Even though the scoreline against Warrington got blown out in favour of an exceptional side, there were patches in there which the effort that the coaching staff has always demanded was there.
“We want to see effort and reward effort and then we can put everything else together. We saw effort – even if there was a little bit of dumb stuff – and they worked hard for each other and that gives us the basis to be able to do something.”
Vikings finished the campaign at the foot of the table on points difference behind Castleford, who also had six wins.
Although a club of Widnes’ history and pedigree sets the bar of expectation pretty high, half a dozen wins was significantly higher than most pundits had them down for and even some black and white die-hards had anticipated.
Betts added: “We came into this league as a completely different side and have caused ourselves a lot of problems this year and lost games because it is our own fault, but we have lost a couple because of bad errors from the officials. “One game in particular – against Saints – we won but the referee could not put his flag up. That would have put us on 14 points.
“If this was the Olympics we would have a recount and go from a bronze to a silver medal.
“We would have taken winning six games half way through the year – the improvement we have shown within the club and how strong we have stayed in doing what we have tried to do.
“You have to take your hat off to what we have tried to do this year.”
Despite conceding a half century of points to bitter local rivals Warrington, the home fans remained and cheered when they listened to Betts thank them for their backing.
The coach added: “The fans have seen effort this year. That is why they are still upbeat because they have seen a team prepared to hurt themselves for the fans and the club. We have seen that in spades over the course of the last third of the season. “People who have come to the Stobart Stadium and seen us play this year have seen a competitive side and have had good value for money, because they have had some good games and some close games.
“It has been well worth the trip to the stadium to watch us play. Now it is about trying to get more consistency on the field. That will come from putting a side on the pitch, week- in week-out, that looks the same.”