Widnes Vikings can confirm a number of departures after the 2021 season came to a close last week.
Departures are of course inevitable at any Rugby League club at the end of the season, but it is with appreciation that we announce the players that are to leave the club after their efforts in black and white during their careers.
Several different factors result in players moving on including aspirations to train and play in full-time environments at Super League level, retirement, the specific aims of the club’s recruitment and retention strategy and of course budget.
Matt Cook and Paul Clough have already announced their retirements from the game after stellar careers. The pair played their final games in the 26-16 victory at Oldham on the final day of the 2021 season.
Deon Cross will also be leaving the club after agreeing to join a full-time club and pursue his ambition to play in Super League. Deon scored 24 tries in 31 appearances during his two seasons with the Vikings, and recently scooped Fans’ Player of the Year award at our End of Season dinner as well as winning Try of the Season for his effort at home to London Broncos.
Jayden Hatton is also leaving Widnes hoping to pursue his ambition of a full-time career in Rugby League. Jayden has scored 16 tries in his 32 appearances during three years with the Vikings first team following his progression through the club’s academy programme.
Daniel Hill departs after agreeing to join St Helens as a member of their first team squad. ‘Hilly’ came through the academy at Widnes and broke into the first team this season, making six appearances and scoring a try against Salford Red Devils in the Challenge Cup.
Owen Buckley will leave when his contract expires at the end of this year. ‘Buckers’ scored 11 tries in his 13 senior appearances after coming through the Vikings’ youth system, including seven in seven games during 2019 and a memorable hat-trick against Oldham in the Challenge Cup the same year.
Josh Wilde will also leave the club at the end of his current contract. ‘Wildey’ broke into the first team this season after also coming through the Academy and making his debut against West Wales Raiders in the Challenge Cup, but has decided to move on in search of playing time elsewhere.
Lee Jewitt has suffered from long-term injuries during his one year with the Vikings and also leaves at the expiry of his contract. He is now running his own sports counselling and welfare programme.
The club would like to thank all of the departing players for their efforts in Vikings colours and wish them the best of luck going forwards.
We have been working on our recruitment and retention strategy for much of the 2021 season and are still working to finalise the squad for the season ahead.
We will continue to announce player signings in the coming weeks as we look to build a squad for 2022. All 2022 squad news confirmed so far can be found here.