Widnes confirm new assistant coaches in reshuffle

Josh McAllister
Widnes Vikings Halton Stadium Ryan O'Brien

Widnes Vikings have welcomed two new members to their coaching staff following the departure of assistant coach Ryan O’Brien.

O’Brien, 29, joined his hometown club in 2009 as a player, progressing through the academy. He was later released, but volunteered at the club for three years while studying, progressing to scholarship head coach.

In 2016, O’Brien took on the full-time role of youth performance manager before becoming the club’s head of youth performance in 2019.

At the end of 2020, he moved to the first team as assistant coach before taking on the additional role as performance manager. He also acted as interim head coach during the 2022 season for seven games before John Kear’s arrival.

Widnes have confirmed that Mike Grady has joined his hometown club as new assistant coach from Rochdale. The former North Wales head coach joined Hornets in August, working alongside Gary Thornton.

Neil Belshaw has also been appointed as assistant coach to Kear for the 2023 Championship season. He has been involved with the club as a volunteer since 2012, excluding a short spell away. 

Completing the backroom staff reshuffle, Liam Clark has taken on an enhanced role as team manager.

Ryan O’Brien headed to Super League

O’Brien is set to be announced by a Super League club ahead of the 2023 Super League season.

On his move, O’Brien said: “This club has been a major part of my life for as long as I can remember. I’ve made memories and friendships here that will last a lifetime.

“I’m sad to be leaving but at the same time really excited about the opportunity I’ve been presented with. I’ll remain a fan, and have no doubt the 2023 season will be a success given the strength and depth of the current squad.”

READ MORE: From the NRL’s wanted list to the Championship: International forward hoping to find himself again

FOLLOW: Keep up with all the latest on the Love Rugby League mobile app and podcast