Gareth Hock highlights Denis Betts factor following Widnes Vikings move
Last Updated: 23/01/13 8:16pm
Gareth Hock: Linking up again with Denis Betts (photo by Kim Pullman)
Gareth Hock says Widnes head coach Denis Betts was a major factor in convincing him to join the Vikings in a season-long loan deal from Wigan.
Betts went from being a first-team regular to a coach at Wigan as Hock was coming through the junior ranks at the club and the 29-year-old is pleased that the two can link up again.
"As a junior working my way through the ranks at Wigan, Denis was a first team regular at the time and somebody I genuinely looked up to," Hock told the Widnes website. "To later have him as my coach was fantastic and I really benefitted from his knowledge of the game.
"When the chance of re-joining him at Widnes came around, I didn't need asking twice. They are a proud club with a great history and I'm looking forward to playing my part in what we hope will be a big season for the club.
"It was really flattering to find out that there were plenty of other club's who would've also liked to have offered me an opportunity, but I've spoken to lots of people in the game and they have only had good things to say about Widnes."
"Being a World Cup year, individually, I'm desperate to have a big season and by doing so, hopefully put myself in with a chance of pulling on an England shirt and representing my country again, so I'll definitely be giving it my all for the team."
Betts was also delighted to be reunited with a player who, along with fellow new signing Kevin Brown, he feels can bring a new dynamic to the Vikings side.
"It's been a hard task putting everything in place but well worth it, to secure somebody of his standing," said Betts. "Gareth is a current international player and regarded as one of the best back rowers in the world.
"He's healthy and hardly missed a game for Wigan last year. He has loads of presence about him, knows how to play a very tough game and at the top end of his twenties; he's at a good, solid age and knows exactly where his career is going.
"When we looked around our squad, we realised we needed to move to the next level. We've already seen evidence of this following the recruitment of Kevin Brown, so to be able to bring Gareth in as well, offers even more cutting edge to our side."
Wigan revealed that Hock had, after requesting a move to Australia in October, refused to play for the Warriors.
The player himself claimed a number of clubs were interesting in signing him, but he is delighted to have opted for Widnes.
"It was really flattering to find out that there were plenty of other club's who would've also liked to have offered me an opportunity, but I've spoken to lots of people in the game and they have only had good things to say about Widnes," he added.
"My Brother-in-law, Kevin Brown, has also told me all about the set-up, the professionalism and the ambition at the club which made my decision even simpler and I can't wait to pull on a Vikings shirt and get started."