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Sheens, Smith show Vikings’ intent to plunder

WIDNES Vikings have shown their determination to launch a serious promotion bid this season by appointing high-profile Aussie Tim Sheens as head coach and then getting out the cheque book to land former St Helens, Salford, Wigan and Catalans half-back Matty Smith.

The former England international might be past his peak at 32, but he’s still a clever and hugely-skilled operator at the fulcrum of the Vikings attack.

They start the ball rolling for newly-promoted Oldham, who host the Vikings at Bower Fold, Stalybridge on Sunday, kick-off 3pm, in a Betfred Championship opener that some pundits believe might go the Roughyeds’ way.

Oldham boss Matt Diskin (37), who will also be in charge of his side for the first time in serious competition, will relish pitting his wits against 69-year-old Sheens, who was in charge of the Australians from 2009 to 2015 after coaching NRL sides Penrith Panthers, Canberra Raiders, North Queensland Cowboys and Wests Tigers.

Starting off last season on minus 12 points because they entered administration, Vikings were never going to be pushing for promotion but this time they feel they will have a great chance if Smith settles in quickly to spearhead their challenge.

He will have the support of several more new signings, among them Jack Johnson from Warrington Wolves, Jake Spedding (Featherstone Rovers), Deon Cross (Barrow Raiders), Logan Tomkins (Salford Red Devils), Shane Grady (Halifax), Pat Moran (Warrington Wolves), Kenny Baker (North Wales Crusaders), Connor Dwyer (Thatto Heath) and Liam Cooper (St Helens).

Vikings took 600 fans to Rochdale for a pre-season friendly — the first of their three wins against Hornets, Castleford Tigers and North Wales Crusaders — and they expect to take to Bower Fold a black-and-white army that might, just might, hit four figures.

Diskin says he and his backroom staff will leave no stone unturned in their efforts to give the Roughyeds players the best possible preparation for each match, down to having their Saturday morning Captain’s Run at Bower Fold whenever Stalybridge Celtic fixtures permit.



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AS lockdown restrictions start to ease, now is the time for everyone connected with Oldham RLFC to do all they can to help with getting income from our Club Cash lottery back to where it was before the pandemic started to bite.

This is vital for the club and its finances which, as you all know, have taken a massive hit in the past 12 months.

Collectors will be returning to door-to-door visits in the next few weeks and we hope people who suspended payments will pick up where they left off as we strive and work hard to get back to where we were before the pandemic caused us to lose 50 per cent of our lottery income.

Many of our regular punters, who would normally pay a collector, have answered our calls for help by finding other ways to pay and to retain their chances of winning prizes.

To those people we are very grateful and we would like to take this opportunity to thank them once again for their loyal and continued support.

The lottery, of course, is potentially one of our biggest fund-raisers and for as little as £1 a week — more if you wish — you can help the club immensely and at the same time have chances to win £1,000, £100, £50, £25 or one of ten consolation prizes of £10.

That’s the present prize structure. There’s every chance it will be increased once we are out of lockdown, door-to-door collections start again and we get back to some sort of normality.

In the meantime you can join, or start up again, by contacting the club on 07904 898177 or by email to: enquiries@roughyeds.co.uk

For more information about the lottery, and for the “great opportunities” provided by our partnership with the National Youth and Community Development Association (NYCDA) go our Club Cash page.

There, you will find all the results and a detailed statement about getting back to normal with the help of our not-for-profit partners.

All proceeds from the partnership will continue to support the club and help us to meet the aims of our Club Cash activities, particularly in its aims and objectives to be an active stakeholder in the local community.

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