Rule Proud Of Season Opener

Rule Proud Of Season Opener

5th February 2018

The Vikings Media Team caught up with CEO, James Rule, to reflect upon the season opener against Catalans Dragons. He shares his delight at the impressive performances at both youth and senior levels, and his gratitude for the incredible backing for the team from Viking Stronghold Members and supporters.

James that was a phenomenal start to the season, you must be delighted?

I certainly am! To see both the Academy and first team start the year so impressively is very exciting. There’s a genuine sense amongst the players and coaching teams that this can be a great year for the club, and I think supporters got to see why they feel this way. 

Our Under 19s started the day in style, with an exceptional 42-16 victory over Catalans Dragons. Facing the Dragons’ Academy is always a tough prospect, as they are a big, physical side. To put so many points past them was a fabulous achievement and a great start for Grant Gore in his new role as Academy Head Coach.

To follow this up with the senior side scoring more than 40 points in their season opener was a huge success. The atmosphere in the stands was special, and I know that it was a game that both players and supporters will remember for a long time.

Let’s talk a bit about that big atmosphere. The supporters really roared the players on throughout the game, didn’t they?

They were fantastic. It was great to see the flags back, and to hear the drums in the Pat Price Stand and all the singing.

The highlight of the day for me was seeing the response post-match. It looked like virtually every supporter remained in their seats after the final whistle to applaud the players. I felt incredibly proud seeing this and I know that this will have meant a lot to the players.

What did you make of the performances?

There were excellent performances across the field, so it’s difficult to single anyone out, but Chris Houston, Chris Dean, Hep Cahill and Joe Mellor all stood out to me. I was also delighted to see the impact that Wellington Albert made, especially when you consider he has missed most of pre-season. He’s only going to get better as his fitness improves and he settles into the team. I can see him becoming a real crowd favourite.

You can see the impact of the boys having such a strong pre-season. They’re looking fitter, faster and more powerful and their conditioning paid dividends in the latter half of the game.

Both you and Denis have recently referenced the greater competition for places this year, with the introduction of the new signings, the growing experience of our young stars, and the present health of the squad. Sunday’s performance obviously illustrates this.

Absolutely, it was a quality team performance. You can see the difference when the spine of the team is available for selection and there’s such competition for places. In a positive sense, I want Denis to have a difficult job choosing the team, because he’s got such hard decisions – I think that’s where he is right now.

When you consider that only Gil Dudson, Danny Craven, Ryan Ince and Alex Gerrard are unavailable at the moment, we’re looking strong across the field compared to last season. With the likes of Macgraff Leuluai, Sam Wilde, Ted Chapelhow, Danny Walker and Stanton Albert all pushing hard to claim their places in the team, there’s really healthy competition.

Do you think we can build on this performance?

Of course! There’s a real sense of confidence and togetherness amongst the first team. I know that they’re looking to generate some real momentum following this result and are relishing our upcoming games.

There is obviously a real feel-good factor developing off the field too. We’ve seen a significant surge in ticket sales today for Sunday’s away fixture against Castleford, as well as the upcoming home derby against Warrington Wolves on Friday 16th February. It would be fabulous if that continues and we can enjoy a record crowd against Warrington.

I hope that we can build upon the atmosphere created this weekend and make the Halton Stadium a real fortress. The backing from our supporters means so much to our players, and we’re grateful for their passion.


Be there to back the boys!

Widnes Vikings have two huge upcoming fixtures against Castleford Tigers and Warrington Wolves.

Tickets for both fixtures are on sale now, with tickets for Warrington Wolves  available until this Friday with a big Advance-Priced One discount – just £19 for adults, £14 for concessions and £8 for juniors.  

 To purchase your tickets, visit the Vikings Superstore at Tesco Extra, call 0151 495 2250 or visit the online ticketing platform.


To ensure that you are making the best savings throughout 2018, join the 2018 Viking Stronghold. Not only will you be able to take advantage of all the discounts and benefits that Membership offers, you’ll also be making a real investment into your club! Click here to find out how to purchase yours...

Rule Proud Of Season Opener