Back From The Brink! Widnes Vikings 2019 Season Review

They live to fight another day, barely! Widnes Vikings’ return to the Betfred Championship was rather forgettable in a season plagued by countless issues off the field.

Many of which involved previous CEO James Rule as the club hit financial ruin, leading to their 12 point deduction that immediately put them on the back foot.

However, after all their set-backs, including changes of staff both on and off the field, Widnes survived and will be back for another season of Championship rugby, where they could mount a more serious fight for promotion this time around!

Best result: Toulouse Olympique 24-36 Widnes Vikings

They did record some strong results but their best had to be away in France against eventual runners-up Toulouse Olympique.

Avenging last season’s defeat in the Qualifiers, this result saw Widnes make it two wins from two, shortly before their troubles piled up.

Two tries from star signing Anthony Gelling led the way, with further efforts from Liam Hood, Ted Chapelhow, Danny Craven and Ryan Ince coming in on top of six goals from Jack Owens.

Stan Robin did score a hat-trick of tries for the hosts, with Dean Parata touching down and Mark Kheirallah adding four goals but the French were ultimately outclassed on the day.

An encouraging performance, perhaps providing a glimmer of hope, not only for their survival of this season but maybe heading into 2020.


Worst result: Bradford Bulls 62-0 Widnes Vikings

An all too familiar result maybe as Widnes Vikings received a thrashing away at the Bradford Bulls, but given circumstances of both clubs, perhaps this one was too unforgiving!

Two clubs who have suffered aplenty by lack of leadership and management but the Bulls had all the glory on the day as they inflicted more misery on the Vikings.

Both Joe Keyes and Elliot Minchella scored a hat-trick of tries, with the former also slotting over nine goals in the rout.

Further efforts came from Jy Hitchcox, Brandon Pickersgill and Ross Oakes, with George Flanagan scoring a brace as well.

Widnes literally had no response, not even a consolation for their efforts.

However cruel, perhaps a valuable lesson that may have helped shaped them as a club as they have since escaped financial difficulty they were in and bounced back enough to survive.


Main man: Anthony Gelling

A player who should work part-time in the marketing department is the lovable Anthon Gelling!

Though recent announcements have seen him pen a deal with arch-rivals Warrington Wolves from next season, but regardless, Gelling has been a popular figure with the Vikings.

Arguably a ray of sunshine in such a dark season, Gelling was their x-factor, not only with his positive antics off the field but also his talent on it.

Scoring a handful of tries for the Vikings assisted in them gaining enough wins to survive, despite their 12-point deduction for entering special measures.

He has always been a powerful and exciting players, who still possesses a bright future ahead of him in the game.


Predicted 3rd – Finished 11th

This before their administration but even without the deduction, the Vikings would have finished as low as eighth.

They started the season brightly, with comfortable wins over Halifax and Toulouse, plus gave eventual league leaders Toronto Wolfpack an almighty scare up at Newcastle.

They looked good money for a play-off position but financial mis-management off the field quickly dampened those chances.

Many supporters alike blamed previous CEO James Rule for the incident, which did not come as a surprise as he has not got the best track record, just ask anyone associated with Hull FC.

He and others were blamed as a lot of the general public prefer placing blame instead of praising the individuals who helped them out of their mess.

Unfortunate but it is human nature and with Rule eventually departing following threats to himself and his family, Widnes’ rebuilding job finally started that eventually saw them recover enough to finish with 14 wins.

A superb achievement, winning more than losing after such a position, but the Vikings are here to stay and should they remain financially stable, could very well be genuine promotion contenders once again in 2020.