The Vikings are delighted to announce the re-signing of back-row forward Liam Bent on a one-year contract, with the option of a second year from the 2024 season.
Limited to just eight appearances in 2023 following an ACL injury in April, ‘Benty’ is looking forward to putting a tough 12 months behind him as he intensifies preparations for the new season.
“It happened in training just before Easter. I initially thought it was just a meniscus pull, but went for a scan and got the bad news a few days later. I’ve never had such a bad injury before. I’d started most games the year before and was ready to do the same in 2023, so to be ruled out for the entire season was absolutely gutting.”
Liam’s been working himself hard in rehab to get back to full fitness. “I’ve been training alone most of the time to do my rehab and have been making good process. I was back running 4 weeks ahead of schedule and I’m getting that strength back through gym work.”
The most difficult thing for Bent was watching the team miss out on the top 6 from the sidelines, unable to really help. “It was tough not being amongst the team environment, but I still got loads of support from the players, coaches and fans. There was a lot of adversity last year, losing games we should’ve won and changes in coaching, but Neil was absolutely first-class when he came into the role.”
“It was really hard not being out there to help the lads, especially given we were only a couple of wins away from reaching the play-offs. You always wish you could’ve offered more.”
With 2024 on the horizon, Bent is looking forward to being back in the first-team fold under Allan Coleman. “Allan and Tom are good coaches and great blokes; I’m confident that with them we’ve got a massive chance of reaching the top 6, which has to be our minimum goal.”
“Allan will bring a good style of play from Swinton, and encourage us forwards to be ball-players and throw it around a bit more than we have previously. I can’t wait to get stuck in and re-gain a spot in the side.”
Coleman is also excited at the prospect of Bent finding form in the Vikings’ new-look pack, saying “Liam is a player I’ve tried to sign a few times before and glad he’s staying with us. He gives 100% in everything he does and his performances are always consistent.”
“Liam’s working very hard after his injury last year, and is back training with the team ready for the season ahead. We want to be a quick, fit, and aggressive team in 2024, and Benty has all those attributes.”
“His work rate is as good as anyone’s in the Championship, which is vital for us to get where we need to be.”
Despite the prospect of being back in the week-to-week grind of the second tier, Liam is still taking every day as it comes on his way back from injury. “I’m ready to push myself to get back in the team, and cement my place once there.”
On the team’s wider goals, Benty is under no illusions: “We need to reach the play-offs, no question. We’ve had a mid-season dip for 2 years running now, which has caused us to fall short at the end. We can’t afford to be inconsistent.”
“It’s very easy to get found out in the Championship. We need to make sure we’re fronting up in defence for 80 minutes, and that in turn will help our attack to flow the way we want it to.”
We’re happy to have Benty locked in for at least the 2024 season, and wish him all the best as he continues his recovery back towards a first-choice spot in the Vikings’ side.