Chris Bridge looking ahead to 2017

Chris Bridge looking ahead to 2017 widnesvikings.co.uk
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5th December 2016

Chris Bridge is hoping that he can hit the ground running in 2017 after a frustrating end to his debut year with Widnes Vikings.

Bridge made 15 appearances, scoring five tries, in his first season with the Club following his move from Warrington Wolves, before picking up a leg injury in June that ruled him out for the season.

With the injury now behind him, and back into full training with the Club, Chris has been balancing this by recently passing a driving test to become a HGV Class One driver. Chris admits that he was delighted to pass and start to cement future plans for when he finishes from playing rugby league.

“Yeah I was really happy to pass, and the Club have been brilliant with me in sorting it out,” he said.

“The Club have been really accommodating in helping me, such as Denis and Tim (Holmes), and I can’t thank them enough for being helpful on it. 

“I know that preparing for life after rugby is important, and I’m not getting any younger in terms of a rugby league player, so that will probably be the next stage for me when I do call it a day so it’s nice to have something in the bank for when I hang up my boots.”

The Vikings first team squad are well into their pre-season training ahead of the new Betfred Super League season, with the aim of wanting to improve upon the Club’s best ever Super League finish.

Whilst for most players pre-season can be a dreaded experience, Chris Bridge is happy to be back involved and being around his teammates again and is hoping it can help towards being a driving force for the Vikings next year.

“It’s good to be back in and training again. The main thing for me is being back around the boys again after so long out,” he said.

“Pre-season is usually cold and rainy throughout, and you know that it's going to be tough. It is dark when you come into training in the morning and then it’s dark when you are leaving at night."But it is important that you put the hard work in now to see the benefits during the season and hopefully that's what we'll see next year.”

The season cannot come quick enough for Bridge, who spent the back end of the 2016 season looking on through injury, and he admits it was tough to sit in the stands and watch as his teammates were taking to the field every week. 

“It was really frustrating for me, as I thought I had played really well at the start of the year,” he said.

“I was forming a good partnership with Corey and Joe on our side and then I had a problem with my neck which meant I was out for a few games and then days before the Warrington game I was struggling to walk. But instead of missing the game, I tried to tough it out and play anyway when with hindsight I should of listened to my body and sat it out. 

“When I’ve been scanned, it was soon realised that I’ve got an extra muscle in my calf that only a few people have, and that’s what was rubbing against my achilles which was giving me the pain. It was just one of those things but I’m just hoping I can get a good run of games next year.”

Pre-season is just about to get a lot harder for the Vikings as they head to the Lakes for a training camp, and Bridge and his teammates are in the dark as to what gruelling tasks and drills they will be doing whilst being there.

“All I know about the trip is that we are heading up to the Lakes,” he said.

“We spoke about it last week and said we’re going to be put in a place that we’re not going to like. You have to tough it out and get through it. Doing things like this as a team and being flogged in this manner makes you mentally strong and hopefully it will be good for the team and help us start this year in the same way that we did last year.”

As mentioned, Denis Betts’ side started 2016 in fine fashion and sat top of the table following an outstanding win away to Wigan Warriors in March.

For Bridge and the rest of the first team squad, the aim is to try and push the Club further up the table in 2017, and he believes it is something that can be achieved next year. 

“As a club and as professional players, you want to improve on what you did the year before,” he said.

“So with that in our mindset, we want to push this Club to the next level and only we can do that. Therefore, we will be doing everything that we can, and working even harder than before to do just that and I believe that is a realistic target. 

“Personally, all I’m looking forward to doing in 2017 is playing regular rugby. The last two years have been horrible personally with injuries and what not, so I’m just looking forward to playing again and making sure my body is right so I can run out with the lads on a weekly basis.”

With optimism from the squad ahead of the new campaign, Chris was quick to praise the Club’s Members and hopes that the buzz that was evident in the early part of last season can return to help push them further up the table.

“The fans have been brilliant during the time that I’ve been at the club,” he said.

“It was great at the start of last year when we were winning games and being near the top of the league. There was a real buzz about the place. It’s important to us and the Club that fans get on board with what we’re trying to do, we’re all in this together.

“We speak a lot about being ‘One Club’ and I believe we’re driving towards being that. The Club is nothing without our magnificent support and we need them once again in 2017.”

To enquire or sign-up for a 2017 Viking Stronghold Membership, call 0151 495 2250, visit the Vikings Superstore or click here for more information.

Chris Bridge looking ahead to 2017 widnesvikings.co.uk