Mate against mate in derby day

Close friends and ex-teammates Kurt Gidley and Chris Houston will lock horns tomorrow when Warrington take on Widnes.

The top of the table derby will be a new experience for the pair of Australians, who joined the Wire and Vikings respectively at the start of this year from the NRL.

Gidley and Houston played together at the Newcastle Knights for eight seasons, after Houston joined the club in 2008 from St George Illawarra.

Now the two will come up against each other for the first time in nine years in a fiery local derby on the other side of the world.

“He is a great mate of mine Kurt,” Houston told Love Rugby League.

“He’s had a great start to the season as well actually. He’s playing some good footy, he’s taking the line on.

“It’ll be good, it’ll be interesting playing against him. I played against him in my earlier career when I was at the Dragons but we’ve been together for the last eight years or so.”

Gidley has been a key figure in Warrington’s undefeated start to 2016.

Houston has not been surprised to see the halfback shine in Super League.

“He’s a great organiser Kurt,” the forward said.

“And he’s got great skill too but his fitness is his best attribute. He’s at you all game, he never really takes a rest.

“I think he’s given Chris [Sandow] a bit of freedom to play his game. They’re going to be up there towards the end of the year from the games I’ve seen of Warrington.

“They’re a quality side and Kurt’s no doubt had an affect on that.”

The Vikings will be keen to keep their top spot in Super League after disposing of Wigan, while the Wolves will be out to stay unbeaten.

Widnes-Warrington derbies are known for the passion but Houston doubts that they’re will be much banter between himself and his fellow Aussie.

“I don’t know, we’ll see what happens,” he said.

“I doubt it, we get on pretty well. Whatever happens in the game I’m sure it won’t affect anything off it anyway.”

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