Widnes Vikings have announced that Wigan loan-stars Stefan Marsh and Joe Mellor have signed two-year contracts and will remain as permanent fixtures at the Stobart Stadium until the end of the 2014 campaign.
22 year-old Stefan Marsh has made 23 appearances for Widnes to date, scoring 10 tries, including a four-pointer against his former parent club Wigan Warriors in the 37-36 victory at the Stobart Stadium back in March.
Vikings Head Coach Denis Betts is a long-time admirer of the quick three-quarter and whilst admitting to having one eye on the present, he is also looking toward the future and sees Marsh as a player that ticks both boxes, stating;
“We were always hopeful we could retain Stefan and we’ve worked really hard to ensure we were in a position to do so. Despite having an option to remain at Wigan, he has really enjoyed his time at Widnes and was looking toward giving himself some stability both on and off the pitch. The contract we’ve rewarded him with has offered him the peace of mind he was seeking and we’re both delighted with the outcome.”
“He’s a strike centre and while we’ve been really pleased with how he has performed so far, we realise there’s plenty more to come from him. I’m in no doubt whatsoever that we still haven’t seen the best of him, because a few niggling injuries have kept him sidelined at times and affected his form. These are things that can be ironed out and we’re confident he can go on to prove his undoubted potential and cement a place in the team.”
Since making his debut in Vikings’ colours back in April 2011, Joe Mellor has made 25 appearances and crossed the line on 11 occasions.
As he has proven in his two previous spells at the club, the 21 year-old halfback has bags of quality and the ability to open up defences with his quick thinking and Betts is delighted to have secured the 21 year-old half-back’s services on a permanent basis, commenting;
“Joe will be relishing the opportunity ahead of him.”
“He found his Super League opportunities limited at Wigan, given the amount of quality players that were in front of him but from day one, his attitude and application at Widnes have been outstanding. He is a committed person and a quality professional, who leaves no stone unturned in his preparation and takes nothing for granted on the field.
“With all of our bodies fit and healthy next year, I’ll have plenty of cover in the half back positions, which is a great headache to have.
“Retaining Joe and Stefan is further proof of the building blocks we are putting in place to ensure that everything works for us as an organisation.”
Originally a product of Leigh East ARLFC, Ben Davies progressed through the junior ranks at Wigan Warriors, winning representative honours for Lancashire at Under-14 and 15, as well as representing England at Under-15 and 18 levels.
In 2012, the all-action forward returned for his second spell at Widnes following an impressive period as a dual registered player in 2010. In his time spent at the Vikings thus far, he has made 41 appearances and chalked-up 6 tries.
A front-rower by trade, Alex Gerrard‘s quiet nature off the pitch belies an uncompromising attitude on it, supported by a great appetite for work.
In 2010, Alex made his senior debut for the Vikings as an 18 year-old from the substitutes’ bench, in the frenetic atmosphere of a Challenge Cup-tie against Wigan Warriors and he has made 10 first team appearances to date.