Heremaia excited for 2018 season

Heremaia excited for 2018 season widnesvikings.co.uk
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27th January 2018

Earlier this month, Widnes Vikings were rocked by the news that Papua New Guinea star Kato Ottio had passed away, days before he was due to join up with the squad. James Messenger from the Vikings Media Team sat down with hooker Aaron Heremaia to discuss the tragic situation, and how it has unified the squad ahead of the Club's season opener against Catalans Dragons next weekend.

New-Zealand international Heremaia believes that the shock news will bring the squad closer together as they prepare to play in Kato’s honour throughout the 2018 season and beyond.

“We’ve always had a close knit-group, so that’s never been an issue for us really,” said the 35-year old.

 “But obviously with what’s gone on, it’s not been great, so we’ve still got to just control everything and carry on moving forward.

“The circumstances are not nice but you use it to galvanise the team a little bit. We’ve got his number on our shirt too, and obviously it’s nice to see the two brothers (Wellington and Stanton Albert) come over here as well.

"They’re very good lads and I’m looking forward to seeing how they get on.”

Speaking about the brothers' arrival at the Club, Aaron added: “When they came down for their first training session, it was really cold, one of the coldest days I've had since I’ve been here!"

"But the boys have welcomed them - they’re nice lads and just looking forward to the opportunity. They’ve worked hard and I can’t wait to see them run out.”

Aside from the Albert brothers, the Vikings have also welcomed former Warrington second-rower Sam Wilde- who spent part of 2017 on loan at the club- and former Catalans centre Krisnan Inu.

Heremaia says that the new arrivals have been warmly received by the group, and admits that he has been impressed by what the new recruits have shown so far.

“Obviously, Sam was here for a little bit last year so he knows what it’s all about, but it just creates competition for us.

"Krisnan is big too- I played with him at the New Zealand Warriors and he’s a class player. He’s one of those players where he can create something out of nothing; so it’ll be great to see him out there.

“I think that the players who’ve come in really fit into Denis’ way of playing. Our depth this year is probably better than previous years, so I’m excited. In previous years, we had a group of 23 players, but now we’ve got at least 30 who can come in and do a job.”

Heremaia believes that the Vikings’ opener, against the Dragons at the Halton Stadium on Sunday 4th February, will be a tough test, but one that his side need to be winning in order to get points on the board early on.

“Without looking too far ahead, the first four games are a massive test for us, starting with Catalans,” he said.

“They’re physical and they’ve had a big turnover of players, but it’s one where I think we can really set our standard for Super League.

“After the pre-season we’ve had, I can’t see any reason why we can’t push higher up [the table]. For me personally, it’s been a great pre-season so it’s going to be really exciting.”

Tickets fo the Vikings game against the Catalans Dragons are available to purchase. Please click here for full ticket information for the clash...

Heremaia excited for 2018 season widnesvikings.co.uk