Back-rower Chris Dean got Widnes rolling against Catalans on Sunday with two tries and an assist, which had team-mate Joe Mellor saying it was like having another new signing.
Dean, 30, is in his seventh season with the Vikings having joined them on their return to Super League in 2012.
But he was restricted to just six appearances last season due to injury, having been a virtual ever present the three years prior.
He scored Widnes’ first try from close to the line before making a break to send Mellor in for the second, with Mellor returning the favour in the second half with a nice short pass.
Mellor said: “I’ve got into a good partnership with him on that right edge, he looks after me and he was really good against Catalans.
“I think for not playing much last year he seemed like a new signing for us really and that’s good.”
Dean’s performance earned him a place in the first Love Rugby League team of the week of the season.
Coach Denis Betts added: “Chris has trained really well, he’s put himself in a place where he is really confident in his own ability again after last year.
“Joe gave him a bit of a show and pass for him to score the first try and Chris makes a great break and puts Joe in for his try.”
With Dean in the back-row alongside Matt Whitley, Betts named captain Chris Houston at loose forward and was impressed by his skipper’s display.
He said: “Chris (Houston) was by far the most outstanding player on the field. He led the team by example.
“Some of the efforts he put in defensively and the way he carried the ball was an inspiration to everyone around him, and everyone jumped on the back of that.”