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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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Club Cash

SINCE Covid-19 caused us to temporarily abandon door-to-door CLUB CASH lottery collections last Spring there’s never been a better time to come on board and help Roughyeds to get through these hugely challenging times.

Why? The £500-a-week rollover jackpot is back — not only that there are now TWO £50 prizes and TWO £25 prizes in addition to the first prize of £1,000, a second prize of £100 and ten consolation prizes of £10.

But the return of the jackpot is the big lottery news. It’s back this week and it’s been won first time out, so next week’s jackpot is again £500 but if nobody touches lucky it will go up to £1,000 the following week and increase by £500 a week, if not won, to a maximum of £10,000.

We have seriously missed the regular income from collections on the doorstep, but we cannot thank too much those supporters who have got behind the club in these unprecedented times of hardship by keeping their Club Cash memberships going or, indeed, by joining for the first time, knowing that for £1 a week they can help the club to combat Covid and prepare with confidence for the challenges of Betfred Championship rugby in 2021.

You can send a cheque to cover a set number of weeks; take out a bank standing order — our preferred option; complete a bank transfer; or pay for several weeks up front by credit or debit card.

You can download a standing order form by clicking on the link at the end of this news release and following the instructions or you can contact our Club Cash administrator John McAndrew (tel: 07980 129541; email: mcandrewj@aol.com) or speak to the club direct on 07904 898177 or email to: enquiries@roughyeds.co.uk

The easiest way, though, is to download a standing order form below. The latest prize updates are shown on the form as follows (all for £1): £1,000, £100, £50 (2), £25 (2), a number of £10 consolation prizes and the £500-a-week rollover jackpot.

Best of luck!

Download Application Form

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