He is a player that New Zealand Warriors fans may have fond memories of and he may one day return, but for the time being, Widnes utility back Patrick Ah Van has re-signed with the club until the end of 2015.
Ah Van, who became an immediate hit with the Widnes fans in 2012, a season that saw him score 16 tries and kick 34 goals, even has coach Denis Betts in his corner – with the coach delighted the talented back has extended his stay.
“The Widnes fans love him,” said Vikings Head Coach Denis Betts, adding; “I think it’s something to do with his big hair and beard!
“Seriously though, Pat has proven to everybody that he has an eye for a try. He makes breaks, has the ability to kick goals and is a genuine all-round exciting winger.
“There are very few wingers in the game who can actually carry the ball like he can and do the hard yards in their own half of the field, and still be blessed with such an impressive skill-set.
“When he was at Bradford, I could see something in his game and I was keen to work closely with him. Over the past two seasons, I think it’s fair to say that we’ve definitely reaped the rewards of bringing him here to Widnes.
“Pat is a great acquisition, and it is a real positive for the club to be able to keep him here and ensure that he is an active part of what we are growing into.
“He is a fantastic bloke, who is well liked by his peers and everybody within the organisation. He’s fun to be around but ultimately, he also knows when it’s time to switch on.”
Heading into the 2011 season, there was an option for Ah Van to remain at the Warriors, though he felt compelled to test himself on the other side of the world in the English Super League, initially signing with Bradford before his move to Widnes.
“I just wanted to establish a name for myself on the other side of the world. I enjoyed my time at the Bulls but since my move to Widnes, I think I’ve really progressed as a player and I know there are still a lot of improvements left in my game,” said Ah Van.
“I was delighted to be offered a new deal. This club is really on the way up and we’re only going to get better.
“I really enjoy living in the town too, and getting to see and chill out with the locals.”
Currently injured and disappointed that he is not out there playing, Ah Van harbors ambitions to represent Samoa at the Rugby League World Cup.
“It’s frustrating not being out-there with the boys but if all goes according to plan, I’ll be back on the field sooner rather than later. We’ve had a pretty decent start to the year but there’s a confidence within the group that we can finish the season strongly, too,” said Ah Van.
“Individually, I’ve also got a personal ambition to be selected for the Samoa World Cup squad. My Nanna lives in Samoa and for as long as she is alive, I will put my hand up and make myself available for them.”