Former NRL utility joins Widnes

Danny Galea

Some NRL fans may remember him as he had several stints with clubs in the NRL, but for Danny Galea, a new chapter begins in his career, signing with the Widnes Vikings.

Playing in more than 130 first-grade games for the Penrith Panthers, Wests Tigers and Canberra Raiders, Galea admits that the prospect of playing alongside some of his mates and of playing in the Super League, was a very alluring option for him.

“I’m good mates with Rhys Hanbury from our time spent alongside each other at the Tigers, and I’ve spoken with him on a number of occasions about my desire to come overseas and give it a go,” said Galea.

“One thing led to another and before too long, I was contacted by James Rule. He filled me in on how the Club is run and it was clear that he has a fantastic relationship with his staff and from what he explained, there is plenty of potential at Widnes and they are definitely a Club on the rise.

“I’ve obviously spoken with Denis Betts, too he also gave me a run-down on the way things are done at Widnes and what will be expected of me, when I join the group.

“From day one, everything has run smoothly and the process of sorting out the contract was easy. Of course, there are always a few people who try to warn you not to make the jump from competition to competition and tell you that you’ll regret it, but I have no doubt whatsoever in my mind that I’ve made the right decision and I genuinely can’t wait to get over there and play my part in making the Club grow even more!

Currently at the Canterbury Bulldogs and playing for their NSW Cup side, Galea is just excited to have a chance to play in the Super League.

“I’m contracted to the Bulldogs until the end of October, but I’m hoping to be over in Widnes the following week,” said Galea.

“Being of Maltese descent, I’ve already got dark skin and I’m hoping that I’ll be able to adapt to the English weather and all of the sunshine really quickly!”

Having been coached by the likes of David Furner, Tim Sheens and John Lang throughout his career, the 30-year old veteran has learnt a lot along the way and believes his experience in the Super League will only further aid his game.

I’ve learnt a lot from some great coaches over the years and I’ve taken in as much of the information as I possibly can. Although each coach has had his own methods and tactics, collectively, they’ve all played a massive part in influencing my footy career,” said Galea.

“As I’ve got older as a player, I’ve passed on a lot of this knowledge to the younger guys in the team – and I was there not too long ago – so I know exactly how they’re feeling and what they’re thinking.

“I’m really enjoying the leadership-type role that my game has taken on over the past couple of years, and in no way do I think of zero tar electronic cigarettes it as an extra responsibility. If anything, I’d like to think that it has improved me as a player and hopefully it has also helped the progression of the young players, especially in the early part of their footy careers, when it can be quite a tough environment.

If it were up to Galea, he would be playing for as long as he could and with no end currently in sight as to when he will stop playing, the veteran forward is enjoying playing footy.

“Whatever role I’m given, one thing remains the same and that’s the fact that I enjoy playing. At the end of the day, I just want to carry on playing for as long as I possibly can. When the day arrives that I’m not enjoying it anymore, I’ll give it away and stop, but that’s a long way off!”

Someone who is familiar with Galea is his future Widnes team-mate Rhys Hanbury, with the two playing alongside each other in the NRL for the Wests Tigers.

With Galea now coming to Widnes, Hanbury looks forward to playing alongside him once more.

“He is a really honest player and his work ethic in defence and the ability to put on a ‘big shot’ is something that will please not only the players around him on the field, but also our fans,” said Hanbury.

“He’s played plenty of games in the NRL and actually started out as a centre when he debuted in first grade. Although he’d be first to admit that he’s not as fast as he used to be since moving into the pack, he’s still got the skills and understanding of how to hit a hole and offload a ball, too.

“If I had to make a comparison from within our current group of players for him, then I’d definitely choose Hep Cahill – and we all know what a popular and appreciated player he is!”

Someone who is excited about adding a player like Galea to the side, is Widnes coach Denis Betts.

“We were looking for a solid, hard-working club man to come in and do a good job for us, make us a better team and contribute to the whole organisation,” said Betts.

“Danny is a really strong back rower and a great defensive player, and we’ve had lots of good wraps on him, coming out of Australia.

“With all due respect, a lot of people may not know who he is immediately, but he has a fantastic pedigree and is a former Australian Schoolboys representative. He’s played a large number of NRL games at First Grade level and I’m confident that he will surprise a few people when he comes over to these shores and runs out onto the field for us.

Crucially, Betts is looking forward to the experience and leadership qualities that Galea will bring to the side for the future.

“Danny will bring plenty of leadership qualities, hunger, enthusiasm and a wealth of knowledge with him, and the younger players in our group will only benefit from having him as team-mate and a part of the group,” said Betts.

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