Eamon O’Carroll is hoping for an injury free year in order to help Widnes Vikings trouble the top eight in 2016.
The Vikings finished 2015 in 9th position, having to contend with playing in the Middle 8’s and fighting for their place in Super League for this season.
Denis Betts’ side managed to do just that with consumate ease, but this time around the goals are to aim higher.
Eamon O’Carroll is one of the many returning faces to the Vikings squad after an injury-hit 2015, and he says the club’s pre-season camp has been brilliant for all concerned.
“Yeah it’s been good for me, I’ve just come off the back of an operation so my training has been a little different,” O’Carroll told Love Rugby League.
“But ive been back with them for three weeks now and the lads have been training really hard and I’m enjoying it and I’m hoping we carry that effort into the new season.”
O’Carroll has been with the Vikings since 2011, yet has only made 31 appearances for the club due to a run of injuries that have kept him out of the side for prolonged periods.
The prop forward admitted that it had been a difficult time for him, but he is hoping 2016 is a season in which he can get regularly back on the pitch.
“I’ve struggled for two years now with that injury and it was a difficult one and it took two attempts to diagnose it properly,” he said.
“But eventually, it all got sorted and I’m fixed now and I’m really looking forward to the season now and hopefully playing as many games as I can for Widnes Vikings.”
On the field, Widnes have had an inconsistent pre-season in terms of results. It started with a heavy defeat to Warrington, followed by a hard-fought draw with Halifax and finished with a superb victory at St Helens.
O’Carroll says that their pre-season has been an encouraging one, and says it has given them reason to believe they can push into the upper echelons of the table.
“We’ve got to be looking at that top eight, we’ve worked really hard so that is going to be a minimum goal for us,” he said.
“But we can’t just come out and make statements like that, we’ve got to earn the right to say that. A lot of work has got to be put into it like we have done in pre-season and hopefully we can show that in the opening rounds.”
During last season, Widnes head coach Denis Betts made reference to the fact that his side was always ending up on the wrong side of tight games, resulting in them ending up outside the top eight.
O’Carroll agrees with this, and says there are reasons behind last year’s results but believes they are rectifiable in 2016.
“Last year there was a lot of inconsistency because players were playing out of position through injuries to the squad, myself included,” he said.
“But I don’t really want to use that as an excuse as we want to put last year behind us. But we have sat down and spoke as a group about keeping a consistent team on the field. If we can keep the team healthy through the season, I’m confident we’ll go well this year.”