With still two weeks before the start of the season, Widnes Vikings have suffered a serious blow after losing 3 key players to possible long term injuries. The 26-year-old scrum half Joe Mellor looks set to miss at least the first 6 weeks, after suffering a knee injury in their festive game against their Super League neighbours Warrington. The young half back had hoped to form an effective halfback combination with youngster Tom Gilmore, following the loss of England International and club captain Kevin Brown, who moved to Warrington over the close season. With Mellor out of action, head coach Denis Betts will be looking at another youngster, Danny Carven, or ex England and Irish International Chris Bridge to fill in. Joining Mellor on the side lines is three quarter Chris Dean, who will be out for three months, and prop forward Eamon O’Caroll, who has undergone surgery to his shoulder and again is looking at three months out.
In other Widnes related news, Chemic’s boss Denis Betts has announced a leadership team made up of senior players ahead of the 2017 season. With former skipper Kevin Brown now at the Warrington Wolves, Betts has decided to share the responsibility between co-captains Chris Houston and Joe Mellor. Australian Huston has plenty of NRL experience, and was a senior player at the Newcastle Knights, while Mellor who joined in 2012 has been a shining light in recent seasons, as he looks to step out of Kevin Brown’s shadow. To complete the leaders group, Tom Gilmore and Aaron Heremaia will be sharing the vice-captain responsibilities.