Players In Common

Players In Common widnesvikings.co.uk
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31st August 2017

Widnes Vikings take on Leigh Centurions on Sunday 3rd September at the Leigh Sport Village, kick-off 3:00pm.

Next Sunday's game will see several players take to the field who have experience of playing for both the Vikings and Centurions. the Vikings media team takes a look at the careers of three of these stars...

 

Gareth Hock

Making over 240 appearances for Widnes, Leigh, Salford, and his hometown club Wigan, Gareth made his name as a strong and tough forward with the eye for an offload. 

Hock played his junior rugby with local amateur side, Wigan St Jude’s. He made his debut for Wigan under head coach Stuart Raper in 2003. That very same season, Hock was crowned Super League Young Player of the Year and made an appearance in the 2003 Grand Final, which Wigan lost to Bradford Bulls. 

With a Rugby League World Cup also on the CV with England, as well as four appearances for Great Britain, Gareth has proved himself at the highest level.

Hock made 18 appearances for the Vikings during his year on loan from Wigan in 2013, scoring 10 tries. He famously signed off his time at the Club with a goal from the touchline in his final appearance against Salford Red Devils!

Following a spell at Salford Red Devils, Hock signed for then Championship side Leigh in 2015. He was part of the side that was promoted back into the Betfred Super League for the 2017 season. Hock has already passed 50 appearances for the Centurions, scoring 12 tries to date. 

 

Aaron Heremaia

The current Vikings Vice-Captain is more famously known on these shores for his spells at Hull FC and Widnes Vikings. However, Aaron first played in England with tonight’s opponents, Leigh Centurions. 

Joining the Centurions in 2006, Aaron went on to play for the Club over 50 times, scoring 21 tries, including against the Vikings in a game at Hilton Park.  

Aaron returned home, and eventually played for his boyhood Club, New Zealand Warriors between 2009 and 2011. He also represented his country at international level in the 2011 Anzac Test in Melbourne. In this time, Heremaia converted from a half-back to a hooker, a position in which he has since thrived. 

The season after, Heremaia moved to the North of England once more, with Hull FC. The hooker had three successful seasons with the Yorkshire club, and helped Peter Gentle’s side reach the 2013 Challenge Cup final.

Heremaia joined Widnes Vikings for the 2015 season. Heremaia moved to Widnes Vikings in 2015, becoming a mainstay of the team. In this time, he has been named the Players Player of the Year and been appointed as a Vice-Captain in the Club's Leadership Group.

 

Bob Beswick

Starting off as a Wigan St Patricks junior, the local boy joined his hometown club Wigan and worked his way through the Academy in the early 2000s. 

Having made his debut in the 2004 season following a number of high profiled departures from the Wigan side. Making his first appearance in Terry O’Connor’s Testimonial game against London Broncos, Bob would go on to make 22 appearances for his local club, scoring 2 tries.

At the end of the 2005 season, Beswick put pen-to-paper on a two year deal at the Vikings, who were plying their trade in the National League One following relegation the year before. 

Bob had a fantastic first season at Widnes, earning a place in the 2006 National League One Dream team, as the Vikings narrowly missed out on promotion back to the top flight, losing to Hull Kingston Rovers in the Grand Final. Beswick would play for the Vikings in 2008, also, but left the Club for Halifax after another Grand Final defeat, this time to Terry Materson’s Castleford Tigers.

Beswick played for Halifax for three years, before joining the Centurions in 2012, winning the Championship title with them in 2014 and 2015. Toronto would be the next destination for Beswick, linking up with Paul Rowley once more following their stint together at Leigh. Beswick is also the Strength and Conditioning Coach of the Wolfpack in their inaugural season in rugby league, whilst still playing for the Club at the age of 32. 

 

Danny Tickle

Despite being born on this side of the Pennines, Danny started out his career in Yorkshire with Halifax Blue Sox in Super League, making his debut in 2000 as a 17-year old. He spent two years at the Shay, making 45 appearances, before securing a move to Wigan Warriors mid-way through the 2002 season under Stuart Raper. 

Tickle would become a regular in the Wigan team for the next three and a half years in the back-row, and made an appearance as a starting second row in Wigan’s 2003 Grand Final defeat to Bradford Bulls, a game in which Wigan appeared in because of Tickle’s last minute, match winning drop goal in the Play-Off Semi Final against Leeds. 

Danny’s performances for Wigan earned him a new contract with the club, and another final appearance, this time the Challenge Cup in 2004 against St Helens, saw Tickle start in the second row but end up on the losing side once more. 

Tickle spent two more season at Wigan before securing a move to Humberside with Hull FC for the 2007 season. The Black and White’s is the place in which the 34-year old spent the longest time during his career, as he became a mainstay at the KCOM Stadium as a try-scoring back rower and goal kicker. 

Tickle was part of the Hull FC side that made it to Wembley to face Wigan Warriors in the Challenge Cup final in 2013, as the Airlie Birds lost 16-0 on a rain-drenched afternoon. 

At the end of 2013, Tickle joined Widnes Vikings on a three-year deal, making 45 appearances, kick 117 goals and crossing for three tries during his time at the Halton Stadium. 

Danny left the Vikings in 2016, and had a spell at Castleford Tigers before securing a deal at Leigh Centurions as the Club were promoted to Super League for the 2017 season. 

 

Tom Armstrong

The St Helens born centre started his career at his boyhood club, but it’s his two stints at the Centurions in which Armstrong had a lot of success. 

Having made a try-scoring debut in 2010 at the Magic Weekend at Murrayfield as St Helens beat Hull Kingston Rovers 54-0, Armstrong moved to Leigh in 2011 on dual registration. He made 23 appearances, scoring 10 tries during that season. 

The following year he departed the Saints in 2012, having short spells at Swinton Lions and Sheffield Eagles, before signing for the Centurions once more. Impressively, Armstrong balanced his playing responsibilities with securing a Masters Degree in Petroleum Engineering at the same time!

Tom was part of the Centurions team that was promoted back into Betfred Super League at the end of last season, before signing a permanent deal with the Vikings at the start of 2017. 

Armstrong has been an impressive figure in Denis Betts’ side, scoring against Wigan Warriors in Round Two and receiving several Man Of The Match accolades.  Unfortunately Tom has been injured since the Easter Monday fixture against Leeds Rhinos, but recently returned to the side at the back end of the regular season. 

 

Toa Kohe-Love

The Kiwi centre started off his career at the Auckland Warriors, before moving to Warrington Wolves for the start of Super League in 1996. 

Kohe-Love would spend five years at the Wolves, making over 130 appearances, and scoring 75 tries, a Super League record at the time. 

Toa then moved to Humberside to join Hull FC in 2002, scoring 14 tries in his first season as he became a regular in Shaun McRea’s side. After a solid debut season for the Black and Whites, Kohe-Love started well once more, however an injury suffered early in the year acted as a frustration for the dynamic centre.

After a short spell at Bradford Bulls, and a return to first club Warrington, Toa then joined National League One side Widnes Vikings, and would enjoy a fruitful time with the Club, scoring 17 tries in 25 games, including a try in the Club’s 2007 54-6 Northern Rail Cup final annihilation of Whitehaven. 

Following the Vikings’ 42-10 loss to Castleford Tigers in the National League Grand Final, Toa left the Club to ease financial worries and joined Leigh Centurions in 2008. Although the centre was able to contribute to the Centurions season, niggling injuries restricted him to only 17 appearances and he re-signed for Widnes in 2008 following the takeover of the Vikings by Steve O’Connor.

Kohe-Love spent a further two years at the Vikings, and departed following a career finishing ligament injury suffered in the Vikings’ Northern Rail Cup semi-final victory over Keighley Cougars, but is still remembered fondly by Vikings supporters. 

 

MacGraff Leuluai

Born in Wakefield whilst his father, James, played for the Yorkshire Club, MacGraff and his family moved back Down Under and started his career as a Newcastle Knights junior before joining Leigh Centurions as an 18-year old in 2009. 

MacGraff would spend two seasons at the Leigh Sports Village, making 38 appearances, and crossing the line on seven occasions. 

After a good couple of years in England at the Centurions in the forwards, Leuluai joined Widnes Vikings in 2011 on an initial one-year deal, impressing in the Championship culminating in making the Championship All Star Team. Following the Club’s return to Super League, MacGraff signed a contract extension and played in the Club’s first year back in the top flight, making 11 appearances in all competitions. 

Leuluai would become a constant figure in Denis Betts’ 17 during the 2013, ’14 and ’15 seasons, chipping in with a solitary try in each year. However, it wouldn’t be his try scoring efforts that would make MacGraff a vital part of the Vikings squad, it would be his consistent performances in the second row that supporters would associate Leuluai with. 

2016 and 2017 have been frustrating years for MacGraff with injuries limiting his appearances in the first team, but will be wanting to return to his consistent best throughout the whole of the 2018 season.  

  

Tickets for the Vikings' game against Leigh are available to purchase. Please click here for full ticket information and details on how to buy.

 

 

Players In Common widnesvikings.co.uk