Chris Dean looks ahead to exciting 2018...

Chris Dean looks ahead to exciting 2018...

22nd February 2018

Widnes Vikings forward, Chris Dean, is relishing his return to first team action after a challenging 2017. With three impressive performance and two tries this year, Chris has hit the ground running and is eager for more success when the Vikings take on Leeds Rhinos this Sunday.

“All the boys are in a good place at the minute”, Chris explains.

“We’ve played well in all three of our games and have just been unlucky in some areas. We’re on the right track and know that we can build on our last performances. Everyone is excited and coming into the game with some confidence.”

Having endured an injury hit year, an unprecedented setback in his otherwise healthy career, Dean is loving every moment back on the pitch.

“The injuries I suffered last year were weird. They were freak ones, that don’t happen often. Thankfully I’m in good shape now and I’ve been able to put that experience behind me.

The frustrations of last year have really driven me on. Rehab can be a lonely place, and I really missed playing and the teamwork with all the lads here. I focussed on doing the right things to get back on the pitch and getting a great pre-season behind me, and thankfully that’s paid off.  Having most of a season out really makes me appreciate being on the pitch and training with my mates even more.”

The Vikings faced an injury hit 2017, with Chris joined by many other senior stars on the sidelines. These disappointments created real opportunities for the Vikings burgeoning pool of talented young players.

“The young lads really stepped up well last year, and it shows the potential that this club has. They’ve now got experience under their belt that will stand them in good stead for the future”, explains Chris.

That pipeline of young talent enriching the first team continued with Olly Ashall-Bott making his debut against Castleford Tigers this season. Dean was quick to praise the tricky outside back.

“It wasn’t a surprise to any of us that Olly was called up to the first team, because we know what a quality player he is. He’s unlucky not to have played sooner, because he would have been ready to step up some time ago if it wasn’t for injuries. It’s great for the club to have players of his ability coming through.”

Chris recently extended his stay with the Vikings for a further two years. He says that the strong foundations that the club has built for the future were key to that decision.

“I love being part of club and had no doubt about extending my stay here, because I can see the progress the club has made. There’s been big improvements both on and off the field, and I’m excited about what is to come.”

Chris is confident that the progress the club has been making will be evident this season.

“Last year was a mad one, with all the injuries we faced. Whilst we don’t want to focus on it, it’s got to be in our heads a bit, giving us hunger. Our strength has always been that we are a close team and we know that we have ability. Hopefully this year we’ll be able to keep everyone on the pitch and also benefit from the experience gained by the young lads.”

As for Sunday’s action, Dean says that there’s no room for complacency.

“We’ve got a good record against Leeds at home, but this is a new game and a new season. We can’t take too much confidence from past results, it’s all about the here and now. Obviously they’re coming here off the back of a long trip to Australia, but they have a big squad and lots of quality, so we should expect them to be at their best.”

They had the chance to be World Champions last weekend, so we’re under no illusions about what  they will bring. These are the types of games that we love to be part of and we’re going into it with some real excitement. We know that if we play to our best, we can get the result.”

Tickets for the Vikings' game against Champions, Leeds Rhinos, are available to purchase from:

Buy your tickets before matchday to secure the advance-priced discount, with general tickets just £12 for juniors, £15 for concessions and £22 for adults. Click here for full ticket information and prices.

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Chris Dean looks ahead to exciting 2018...