Six Academy Players Commit Future

Six Academy Players Commit Future widnesvikings.co.uk
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14th September 2018

Widnes Vikings are delighted to announce that a group of Academy players have committed their immediate future to the Club.

On the back of a great year for the Club’s Academy, culminating in a last-minute win against Wakefield Trinity in their final game this week, Calum O’Neill, Jayden Hatton, Ben Davies, Lewis Else, Jake Burns and Tyler Jones have all agreed to extend their stay at the Club beyond the current season.

All six have shown huge progression during the current season, and have been rewarded for their hard work and efforts with new contracts moving forward into 2019.

Phil Finney, Head of Youth at Widnes Vikings, says, “We have long displayed our commitment to the development and retention of young talent at the Club, and these signings are a further indication of us continuing this philosophy.

“For six young players to commit their immediate futures to us is very pleasing and emphasises their commitment to the Club.  All six of these players have been a part of our youth system since scholarship age at 15, with Calum, Jayden, Jake and Ben all graduates of the Vikings Development Squad system in the town. 

“All of the players fully understand and are committed to living the values of the Club, and will play a significant role in the continued development and progression of what is a very strong group of young players at Widnes.”

Phil then went on to give a further insight into each promising individual, and outlined the Club’s excitement for the further development of all five players.

“Calum, a former Halton Farnworth Hornets player, is a hard-working forward who works tremendously hard to improve all facets of his game. He has deservedly gained international recognition with Ireland over the previous two seasons after excellent performances with our U19 squad.  We hope Calum can use this opportunity to strive for a place in the senior squad in the not too distant future.

“Jayden, also a former Halton Farnworth Hornet, is a very uncompromising, physical defender and attacker who plays at centre. Since joining the youth programme, Jayden has played in a number of positions and has this year excelled at centre, earning him selection for the Lancashire squad in the recent Academy Origin against Yorkshire.  Jayden is a player we believe has tremendous potential and we are very pleased that he chosen us to continue his development.

“Ben Davies, who is another former Halton Farnworth Hornet player, has been an outstanding performer this year, and as a result, deservedly earned selection for England Academy.  He is a very versatile player and has played in almost every position since joining the club at fourteen, but this year he has excelled in the stand off position. We believe that if he works as hard as he can, he will have a very bright future in the game.

“Lewis Else is a product of Wigan St Patricks, and joined us at Scholarship age. Lewis remained loyal to the Club despite significant interest elsewhere when he was 16 years old.  He is a very exciting scrum half with a fantastic running game, which compliments his ability to organize.  Lewis has unfortunately had a lot of bad luck with injuries this year, which has kept him from playing more than he would have liked. Despite this, Lewis is definitely a player that the Club has very high hopes for in the future.”

“Jake Burns is another Widnesian who was also a member of the Widnes Vikings Development Squad. Jake is a hooker who is a product of the Moorfield community club and has been involved with the Academy system since the age of 14. Jake is one of the hardest working players within the Academy environment and is very well respected by his peers and coaches alike. Jake is a very good defender, a good distributor who carries a unique kicking game, and is somebody we believe who has a lot of potential.”  

“Tyler Jones is an outside back from Newton Storm, who is now entering his fifth year with the Club.  He is a very elusive runner and dedicated to improving his game. Tyler has shown great character this year and we are very pleased that he has decided to commit his future to the Club in what we believe will be an exciting year for him.

Six Academy Players Commit Future widnesvikings.co.uk