By David Kuzio
Widnes Vikings coach Denis Betts insists he is not worried about complacency when his team travel to face Catalans Dragons on Saturday.
The Vikings open up their Super 8s campaign this weekend with a trip to the Stade Gilbert Brutus less than two weeks after beating them 32-4 in the final weekly round of the Super League season.
Tries from Corey Thompson, Patrick Ah Van, Joe Mellor, Aaron Heremaia and Stefan Marsh saw the Vikings completely outplay the Dragons, but Betts is expecting a different kind of battle this weekend and is not reading too much into that result.
“You can only control what you get up to next, our focus was winning our last home game in the regular 23 rounds,” said Betts.
“Our home form has not been fantastic this year and we wanted to put that right. We have been close against Catalans but we have also had some big score lines put on us over the last two or three years against a very high-quality Catalans side.
“To restrict them to one try and score 32 points against them, I think we keep getting lost in the fact that this is a side that has been in the top four all year until late on, we put them through the cleaners here. It was a real clinical performance and to win like we did against such a good side deserves a lot of credit going to the players.
“That doesn’t change our mindset and focus going forward, it’s a new competition and we know the challenges we face going over to Catalan. We know they are coming out of their last game knowing they are a better side than what they showed that day. The players know that and the attitude that we bring at the weekend will be key to whether we get another result.
“I have never been worried about complacency in this side because we squeeze everybody as hard as we can. We cannot afford to be complacent, that is one of the things with the type of players we have and people involved we know that complacency is something we cannot get away with in our squad.
“We are not complacent. We know they are fifth and we are sat in seventh, we know that overall after 23 rounds they are better than we are. We know it is tough and a hard place to play but with all that other stuff it takes away all those issues of complacency and being relaxed.”
Betts revealed that he is at full strength for the trip to the south of France with full-back Rhys Hanbury coming back into contention after he sat out the win over the Dragons last month.
“From where we were against Catalans luckily, touch wood, we have come out of that game with no injuries. Rhys Hanbury comes back into the mix so that makes it 18 constant Super League players I have to select from. I have to pick 17 out of those 18.”
Widnes were afforded a week off due to the Challenge Cup semi-finals, but Betts insists his players and coaching staff are more focused to be involved in the big games after being forced to watch both matches from afar.
“The lads have had a few days off together,” added Betts.
“Which we don’t do a lot during the year. We watched the Wigan vs Hull game on TV and I was at the Warrington vs Wakefield game, they are the games you want to play in. The players probably enjoyed having a weekend off, but they would have liked to have been involved as well.
“It’s a bittersweet period, you get some energy back and get to spend some time with your family but as a professional they are games you want to be a part of.”