Widnes Vikings snap up ex-Wigan Warriors forward as former St Helens man departs in cross-Championship move

Ben Olawumi
Nick Gregson

Nick Gregson in action for Swinton Lions in 2023 - Alamy

Widnes Vikings have confirmed the signing of Nick Gregson from Swinton Lions, while Olly Davies has departed for fellow Championship outfit Halifax Panthers.

Wigan Warriors academy product Gregson, who will turn 28 next month, ends a three-season stint at Swinton and follows head coach Allan Coleman to the DCBL Stadium, penning a 12-month deal.

Rhodri Lloyd and prolific try-scorer Mike Butt have already made the same move ahead of 2024, with Coleman utilising his contact book to assemble a squad at Widnes he hopes will be able to better their lowly 9th-place finish this term.

Having also featured for Preston Grasshoppers in rugby union, Gregson departs Swinton with 69 appearances to his name for the Lions, including the handful he made on dual registration during his time at Wigan.

Leaving the Cherry and Whites for neighbours Leigh – then Centurions – ahead of the 2017 campaign, the forward has 14 appearances in Super League to his name, and a single try, scored for Wigan against Castleford Tigers back in April 2016.

Gregson has also donned a shirt for Workington Town & Oldham as a loanee, with Widnes becoming the fourth permanent home of his career to date.

Former St Helens man departs Widnes Vikings in cross-Championship move ahead of 2024

One man who won’t line up in the Vikings’ forward pack alongside Gregson next year is his former Swinton team-mate Olly Davies, who earlier this week completed his move to Halifax for 2024.

Coming through the St Helens academy, Davies too will turn 28 later this month. The second-rower – who featured twice for Saints before departing for Swinton ahead of the 2017 campaign – leaves Widnes after two seasons at the DCBL Stadium in which he’s appeared 54 times and scored 11 tries.

Prior to linking up with the Vikings, he’d beaten them in the first-ever 1895 Cup final at Wembley with fellow Championship outfit Sheffield Eagles, now a veteran of the second tier with 132 appearances in it along with 13 in the Championship Shield.

Penning a one-year deal, the 27-year-old says he’s eager to get going with the Panthers, telling their club website: “I’m really excited to be here, I’m made up.

“The deal got done really quickly, but it’s what I really wanted. I’m absolutely buzzing. It was really a 24-hour job, Halifax got in touch and I just jumped at it straight away with two hands and thought that’s what I wanted.

“Prior to leaving Widnes, it’s the place I said, ‘if I’m going to carry on playing, I’d like to go and play for Halifax‘. I’ve nearly signed here about three or four times over the past few seasons and it’s just not made it over the line unfortunately, but it’s always been there. I’ve always had an eye on it, because I enjoy playing here at The Shay.

“I like the place, I like the stadium and the atmosphere that’s created here, but now to call it home and to play here week in, week out, I can’t wait.”

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