Briscoe and Watts out for Widnes

 

Widnes will be without experienced full back Shaun Briscoe and playmaker Anthony Watts for Friday’s Super League opener with Wakefield through injury.

Both players were forced off in the recent friendly defeat against St Helens, and Briscoe has been unable to shake off a knock since that game, although hopes to return for the away trip to Huddersfield on Sunday week.

Watts, a close season signing from Down Under, is likely to be missing for several weeks with a hamstring injury.

Head Coach Denis Betts said: “(Watts) won’t play on Friday, he’s got a hamstring problem, but he’s going to be good this year.

“The key to it is that it’s not all about this Friday night. Friday is just the start. Everything is not hanging on how we perform this week – we are out to perform to our best and really give a good account of ourselves of course, but it’s just the start.”

It could provide an opportunity for Widnes academy product Danny Craven to step in at half back, and Betts expressed confidence in the 25-man squad he has put together.

He added: “The squad looks really good at the moment. I’ve committed to everybody that we have brought in that I was willing to put them in to the team.

“Will we be better with Watts in the team? Probably yes, but I can’t see it like that. If someone’s in there, like Danny, I’ve got to believe he can do a good job for us.”

The Vikings return to the top flight for the first time since 2005 with a home match against Wakefield in front of the SKY TV cameras, and new signing Briscoe, who has arrived from Hull KR, is excited.

Briscoe said: “There’s lot of excitement not just within the club, but in the town as a whole, and we’re all looking forward to Friday.

“I picked up an injury against Saints, and I thought it would be right, but it’s not recovered as quick and as well as we’d hoped, but fingers crossed I’ll be back for next week.”

The former Wigan and Hull man is no stranger to Super League, in contrast to hooker/half-back Watts, who makes the move to these shores following spells at North Queensland Cowboys and Sydney Roosters in the NRL.

 

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