The Vikings are delighted to unveil our latest signing ahead of the 2024 season, as 27-year-old forward Nick Gregson arrives on a 1-year deal from Swinton Lions!
The former Wigan, Leigh, Workington and Oldham player has been with the Lions since 2019, and joins the Vikings alongside the club’s new head coach, Allan Coleman.
Gregson, who can play across the back-row and in the halves, is thrilled to be a Widnes player, and looks forward to settling into his new environment with pre-season just days away.
Making 19 appearances in 2023 as Swinton stayed up on the final day of the regular season, Gregson is full of anticipation for the new challenge. “It wasn’t a hard decision to make the move really. Swinton really felt like home for me but it was the right time to take up something new.”
“Speaking with Allan Coleman and knowing what his plans are here made the decision a lot easier. I’ve got a good relationship with both himself and Tom Wood, and know how they want me to play.”
Reflecting on the 2023 campaign with the Lions, Gregson said; “Our main target from the get-go was to stay up, and we managed it by fine margins. I would only have ever wanted to leave in the right way and I think achieving that goal is the best way to sign off my time at Swinton.”
Nick is keen to bring his strong Lions form straight into the Vikings’ set-up. “There was a great team camaraderie at Swinton and I think that helped us a lot. I had a good season personally and want to hit the ground running at Widnes, coming into an environment where the expectations are high and so are our targets.”
Gregson’s versatility will also be a valuable asset for Coleman and Wood to make use of in 2024, having played at hooker, stand-off and mostly loose forward last season. “I see myself as a ball-playing loose forward and it’s my preferred position, but I’ve stepped up in the number 6 jersey the past few seasons and am more than happy to fill in anywhere.”
As pre-season for 2024 nears, Nick is looking forward to reuniting with Coleman at Widnes. “He did very well at Swinton on a low budget, and now he’s in a position to develop his ideal squad. Regardless of who’s playing though, Allan always gets the best out of his players – he certainly has done with me – and if he can get this team firing, then the sky’s the limit.”
Coleman also can’t wait for the chance to coach Gregson once again, saying, “Nick is a player who has everything you need to make it as a professional rugby player.”
“He can play it tough amongst the forwards through the middle, or as a pivot who controls the game and links with the halves.”
“H’s got a great kicking game to boot, and I’m really excited to see Nick bring that new dimension to our pack, and help showcase how we want to play this year.”
Shifting from a relegation battle to a push for the top six, Gregson knows the Vikings have a tough but exciting season ahead. “Getting to the play-offs has to be everyone’s aim, and my main personal goal is to be getting into that starting XIII every single week.”
“Going far in the 1895 Cup would be a bonus as well”, says Gregson, “We’ve got a squad more than capable of doing that and I’m sure the Widnes fans would love a trip down to Wembley too.”
We certainly would, and all of us at the Vikings welcome Nick to the club. The squad for the upcoming season is taking shape, and anticipation is high for 2024 as a new era for the club begins!