Widnes Vikings: Six potential candidates to be next head coach

Drew Darbyshire
Widnes Vikings Halton Stadium Ryan O'Brien

Following the departure of Simon Finnigan, we’ve picked six potential candidates to take over the head coaching role at Widnes Vikings.

On Tuesday, Widnes Vikings confirmed they had parted company with head coach Simon Finnigan by mutual consent.

The Vikings had lost their sixth match in a row in all competitions on Sunday. They fell to a 38-10 defeat to Batley.

We’ve taken a look at six potential candidates who could take over at Widnes…

John Kear

John Kear

There two Championship departures on the same day, just hours apart. Bradford announced the exit of coach John Kear in the afternoon, with Finnigan losing his job in the evening.

Kear, who is the current coach of the Wales national team, is one of the most experienced coaches in the British game. Kear has coached Bramley, PSG, Sheffield Eagles, Hull, Wakefield, Batley and Bradford in clubland. The 67-year-old has coached France, England and Wales on the international stage.

John Duffy

John Duffy

Duffy hasn’t been involved with coaching since parting ways with Leigh in June 2021. The 41-year-old former hooker was a fan’s favourite at Widnes during his playing days between 2006-08.

The Wigan-born coach has experience coaching Swinton, Featherstone and Leigh. He was involved in the Scotland coaching set-up for several years under Steve McCormack.

Andrew Henderson

Andrew Henderson
Photo: Simon Whitehead/News Images

It is well-known that Henderson has been interesting into getting back into a head coaching role for a couple of years now.

The 42-year-old is currently head of rugby at League 1 side Keighley and has been enjoying doing media duties.

Henderson has enjoyed spells as a head coach before in the Championship with Sheffield Eagles and London Broncos. He also spent time as Steve Price’s assistant at Warrington.

Denis Betts

Newcastle Thunder
Newcastle Thunder director of rugby Denis Betts

This time four years ago, Widnes had one of the longest serving coaches in the game in the shape of Betts and were in Super League.

Great Britain legend Betts coached the Vikings in Super League between 2010-18. The former Wigan player is currently head of rugby at Widnes’ fellow Championship side Newcastle Thunder, a position which he has been in since 2019.

Danny Ward

Danny Ward

Ward led London Broncos to promotion to Super League in 2018, defeating Toronto Wolfpack in the Million Pound Game.

The 41-year-old couldn’t keep the capital club in the top-flight the following year, although he did earn praise for their style of play and they didn’t go down without a fight. Ward led the Broncos midway through 2021 and has since taken on a role as attacking coach with rugby union side Rosslyn Park.

Kevin Brown

Kevin Brown

The 37-year-old only retired from playing at the end of last season and is yet to have a head coaching role. Brown is currently working as a player agent as well as being a TV pundit.

Brown scored 51 tries in 81 games for the Vikings between 2013-18, where he also captained the club. Could the England international take up his first gig as a head coach with former club Widnes?

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