Widnes 42-14 Halifax: Five takeaways as Vikings turn up the heat

Drew Darbyshire
John Kear Wales Widnes

Following an impressive 42-14 win for Widnes over Halifax in Monday night Rugby League,  here are our five takeaways from the match at the DCBL Stadium.

Impressive Vikings

Widnes coach John Kear will be a very satisfied man when he reviews the game back.

His side dictated the game from minute one to 80. The spine of Jack Owens, Danny Craven, Joe Lyons and Matty Fozard linked up with very well.

How good is Shane Grady too? He seems to put in an 8/10 performance every week. The 33-year-old has been a consistent performer in the Championship for many years.

Speedster Dixon

There were a number of Widnes players who put in classy performances, but winger Kieran Dixon was a joy to watch.

The 30-year-old scored two brilliant tries, and had a spring in his step all game. He caused problems for the Halifax defence.

Dixon, a former England Knights international, was on form with the boot as well.

Keyes blow

Halifax lost talismanic half-back Joe Keyes in the first half after he failed a head injury assessment.

It came as a big blow to the Panthers, who were already behind on the scoreboard. With being 28-4 down at half-time, it was always going to be an uphill task for Halifax, but Keyes’ absence certainly didn’t help.

The Ireland international won’t be able to play in Sunday’s game against Batley due to concussion protocol.

Championship heating up

It’s been a really entertaining opening four rounds of the Championship season.

Featherstone are the only club to have won all four games so far, with the Vikings joining three other clubs in winning three out of four.

We seem to say it every year, but 2023 could be the most competitive season we’ve ever seen the Championship.

Sean Long’s Featherstone side are favourites for Super League promotion but you genuinely can’t call who will make the play-offs.

Monday night Rugby League

We’ve sung its praises many of times now but how good is it to have Championship action on our TV screens on a Monday night?

It gives the players the exposure they deserve and the Championship, as a competition, deserves to be televised because it is an excellent competition in its own right.

Its a challenge for players who are part-time, but the Monday night slot fits well into the sporting TV calendar. The Championship needs to be seen by more people because it’s a brilliant comp with brilliant players.

How it happened

  • 9′ Jake Maizen draws defence in to Lachlan Walmsley who opens the scoring for Halifax. Joe Keyes converts. (0-4)
  • 15′ Kieran Dixon latches onto a chip from Danny Craven to score. (4-4)
  • 20′ Shane Grady crashes over following a flat ball from Joe Lyons. Dixon converts. (10-4)
  • Halifax half-back Joe Keyes fails HIA.
  • 27′ Ryan Millar flies over in the corner for Widnes. (16-4)
  • 32′ Dixon gets his second after taking Jack Owens chip. Dixon converts. (22-4)
  • 35′ Jack Owens breaks the line and supports the assisting Danny Craven to score. Dixon converts. (28-4)
  • HT: 28-4
  • 49′ Owens stretches Widnes’ lead. (32-4)
  • 53′ Grady barges over to get his second. Dixon converts. (38-4)
  • 71′ Scotland international Walmsley gets his second for the Panthers. (38-8)
  • 76′ Joe Edge scores out wide for Widnes. (42-8)
  • 79′ Halifax’s Matty Gee scores a consolation try. Louis Jouffret converts. (42-14)
  • FT: 42-14

How they lined-up

Widnes: Owens; Millar Fleming, Edge, Dixon; Craven, Lyons; Lawton, Fozard, Amor, Grady, Wilde, Bent. Subs: Davies, Walker, Field, Hatton.

Tries: Dixon (2), Grady (2), Millar, Craven, Owens, Edge Goals: Dixon 5

Halifax: Woodburn-Hall; Saltonstall, Tibbs, Maizen, Walmsley; Jouffret, Keyes; Calcott, Moore, Maher, Kavanagh, Gee, Tangata. Subs: Wood, Fairbank, Matagi, Doro.

Tries: Walmsley (2), Gee Goals: Jouffret 1

What they said

Widnes coach John Kear said: “I’d have been happy just to win by one point to tell you the truth. You could sense in the dressing room beforehand that the players were ready to play. I thought they played some real quality rugby league in the first half. We’ve got a good team but it’s a team that can still get better. To be three from four and to put a performance like that in Round Four, I’m very happy.”

Halifax coach Simon Grix said: “I thought we were timely beaten across the board really. Widnes are deserved winners but we had a bit of adversity with Keyesy (Joe Keyes) and Walmsley going off but credit to Widnes. We need to make our actions meet our words.”

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