Burke believes forwards are key

Burke believes forwards are key widnesvikings.co.uk

22nd December 2016

Greg Burke believes the forwards will be vitally important to the Club’s success as the Vikings ramp up their preparations for the 2017 Betfred Super League season.

Burke joined the Club in 2016 from Wigan Warriors in July, going on to make 9 appearances as he helped the Vikings finish in a Super League best of 7th place.

The 23-year old is currently experiencing his first pre-season with Widnes Vikings, and he says that although it has been gruelling, it is something that he is quite enjoying.

“It’s been quite tough to be honest with you, but that is exactly what you want,” he said.

“Pre-season is all about conditioning and making sure you’re in the right shape for when the season starts, and although there are parts where you feel like you’re dying and thinking how tough it is, you do sort of enjoy it and power through, so it’s been good so far.”

Burke has spent the majority of his career at Wigan Warriors, with spells at Bradford Bulls, Hull KR and Workington Town to aid his development, but Greg believes adjusting to pre-season schedules at varying clubs is not that that difficult.

“I don’t think pre-season between clubs is much different,” he said.

“Obviously coaches have their own techniques and ways in which they want to go about it and how they want to play, but in terms of the hard work and graft it’s quite similar so I found it quite easy to adjust here and get stuck in. 

“I’m quite pleased with how it’s gone at Widnes so far, the lads have worked really hard throughout pre-season and we’re looking good for the season ahead.”

Burke, along with fellow signing Jack Buchanan, was a mid-season acquisition for Denis Betts’ side to bolster the Club’s forwards for the rest of 2016 and beyond. Greg said that the first few days at the Club was a nervous experience that was eased quite quickly due to the players that were already here.

“To be honest, it is quite daunting to come in midway through a season to a bunch of new teammates,” he said.

“But, in my case, it was easier because there is a lot of lads that are from Wigan here or players that I have played with before, and I settled in to the team quite quickly.

“There’s no looking back for me now. I’ve had my first pre-season with the Club, I’m fully settled and hopefully we can start as well as we did last year and hopefully keep that form up.”

With the Club operating in the top tier of the Super League Super 8s for the first time in 2016 following a blistering start to the season, Burke is firmly of the belief that the Club is capable of consistently producing results that can help Widnes Vikings become challengers further up the ladder.

“I don’t see any reason as to why we can’t improve,” he said.

“Everyone has spoken about Kevin leaving, and rightly so as he was a big part as to how we played and he was our Captain, but we have to move on. As a team, we can’t live on things out of our control and we’ve drawn a line under that and I believe everybody else should do the same.

“We showed last year that we can compete with the best teams in this league on our day, we went to Wigan who are now Champions and beat them with 11 men on the field at one stage, so it’s a case of making sure we do that regularly and hopefully we can push further up the table.”

Burke is part of a pack at the Vikings that is looking strong ahead of the 2017 Betfred Super League campaign, and Greg believes the forwards need to step up next year if the Club is to improve once more. 

“To be successful in Super League, you need a solid, strong middle to lead from the front and I am certain that our middles are capable of doing that,” he said.

“We’ve got five or six middles now that, when everybody is fit, are capable of mixing it with the bigger packs in the league. Everybody saw that in patches last season. With the addition of Jack and myself midway through last year, plus the quality we already had here, we have a strong pack to hopefully lay that platform for us next year. 

“Hopefully if we can do that, we can start to pick up points regularly next year, and the fans can see just how much quality this team has.”

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Burke believes forwards are key widnesvikings.co.uk