Widnes Vikings head coach Denis Betts is relishing the chance to see his new side in competitive action for the first time when they travel to London Skolars for the opening round of the Northern Rail Cup on Sunday February 6.
“I’m looking forward to getting the season underway,” said Betts, the former Wigan and Great Britain second row. “The Northern Rail Cup is a great tournament to be involved in and all the sides competing are hungry for silverware.
“The teams involved are all very talented and there’s a great mix of youth and experience across the competition so we can’t take anything for granted because there are so many teams who could win.
“We know we’re going to have to perform at our best week in week out if we are to make it back to the final this season. I’d love to say we will be back in the final again this year, but unfortunately it really is a case of the old clichés because I want to make sure these lads take it one game at a time and don’t get too ahead of themselves.”
Betts took over as head coach at Widnes in November and has already underlined his determination to ensure that his players learn from the mistakes of previous seasons and come back even stronger in 2011.
“I wasn’t involved with the side last year, but I know all the lads are very focused on putting right what went wrong for them during the final,” said Betts.
“To lose a game in the dying moments can be tough to take, but we haven’t spoken about the way the game unfolded since I got here. I see no point in looking over our shoulders and worrying about past games, our focus is solely on the game ahead of us against London.
“Our pre-season has gone well and I want all the players to concentrate on improving as a side and developing a real edge to our play. If we can do that, then we will have a chance of winning some trophies this season.”
Tickets for the 2011 Northern Rail Cup final at Bloomfield Road, Blackpool, on Sunday July 17 cost from just £12 for adults (£5 concessions) and are available by calling the RFL Ticket Office on 0844 856 11 13 or by visiting www.rugbyleaguetickets.co.uk