Widnes Vikings coach Denis Betts admits he was pleased with the performance of young half-back Tom Gilmore in the club’s first game since the departure of captain Kevin Brown.
The Vikings ultimately lost 28-18 to Warrington in their opening pre-season game on Tuesday, but Gilmore was perhaps Widnes’ standout player; having a hand in all four tries they scored on the day.
That performance comes just weeks after they announced he would wear the number 7 shirt in 2017 following the departure of Brown to Warrington – and Betts insists that he was happy with what he saw from Gilmore in his first game with new partner Joe Mellor.
“It’s not really first time I’ve seen him so I know what he can do,” Betts quipped.
“He’s a good player; he had a couple of kicks which opened them up, his game-management was good and he created some pressure out there: he was really composed.
“He looked confident with that number on his back. He’s a typical half-back; he’s not a baby anymore and when I first came here Tom was a young man and everyone was talking about him. He’s been patient, gone out on loan and he’s in his early 20s now. He just needs a run of games and opportunity, which he’ll get.”
Usually, coaches are quick to underplay the importance of results in pre-season, but after throwing away a lead they held for most of the game on Tuesday, Betts revealed that his squad were “disappointed” with the defeat to the Wolves.
“They’re all disappointed because for a number of years we’ve been doing this and we’ve lost by 40 or 50 points,” he said.
“Today was a big turning point for us in pre-season because it was one of the strongest teams I could pick at this time of year, yet we’ve still got 12 or 13 blokes that weren’t involved.
“Late on, we changed our personnel and had some juniors that made a couple of mistakes that gave them some field position. That bit of depth we showed today though was encouraging for me.”