Betts battling Widnes emotion ahead of Bradford test

Widnes coach Denis Betts has acknowledged that this stage of the season can be a difficult time to manage when you are in charge of a Super League side.

While there are always changes to be made, as clubs plan for 2016, the Vikings also have the additional stress of trying to preserve their Super League status in the Qualifiers section of the Super 8s.

“It’s a tough time, this time of year,” he said.

“People have to move on, and you’re trying to keep that drive in the squad, and then things just have to happen in the squad.

“So it becomes hard, and the emotional drivers are hard to cope with.

“This time last year we didn’t really know what these two competitions would bring, but, while the quality of the games hasn’t been great, the drama has been which everybody wanted has been there to see.”

The emotion which surrounds the battle for promotion and relegation which is the Qualifiers also takes its toll on players and staff, according to Betts.

“All the teams in the competition are dangerous, because they’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain,” he said.

“When you’ve got hold of something, and you’re trying to keep hold of it, then anxiety and stress can stop you doing the things that you’ve done all year.

“Whereas if you’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain, then mistakes don’t seem to hurt you as much, and errors don’t seem to cause you as many problems.

“The stress of it is something that, in this kind of competition, you have to learn to cope with.

“As a group, this is totally new to everybody here.

“I don’t think anybody in this group, even though they’ve been in the Championship, they’ve never been in a relgation fight, which is effectively what it is.

“It’s the job of the coaching team to keep that anxiety under control, and promote a fearless approach in the way we play.”

As for Bradford, who Widnes play at Odsal on Sunday, Betts is well aware of the threat that they pose to his side.

“I’ve always thought that Bradford were the dark horses in this competition,” he said.

“It’s a side that’s been built to get into Super League.

“Their home form this year has been great. I think they got a draw with Leigh and haven’t lost a game.

“So it’s going to be a tough ask to go there and get a result, but I expect us to go there and get a result.”

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