Recruitment is a key factor for any club and for clubs that are attempting to dismantle the top sides, they have to recruit strongly and the Widnes Vikings have done just that, with Hull FC prop Paul Johnson signing a 1-year deal.
Having already signed Danny Tickle, Danny Galea and Liam Carberry – and potentially more to come – Widnes are looking to strengthen their squad this off-season and mount a challenge for the Super League title.
Johnson, 25, has played in 60 Super League games since his debut for St Helens back in 2010, with the prop forward eager to commence the next chapter of his career at Widnes.
â€œIâ€™m delighted and this is a really good move for me to go to Widnes, and I really can’t wait to get started, meet all of the lads and get back into the swing of things,” said Johnson.
â€œI’ve heard plenty of good things about the club and they’re making a lot of progress in the Super League.
“Itâ€™s a great opportunity for me to get back to where I know I should be and being a local lad, I’m confident that moving back home will show itself in my performances and this is something that played a massive part in my decision to join.”
With Widnes building a reputation on hard work, grit, a positive attitude and player cohesion, it was aspects such as those that convinced Johnson to join the club.
â€œBefore signing, I was invited down to have a look around the place and I was blown away at how impressive the whole set-up. There’s a strong belief about working hard for each other and as a player who has always been a big believer in this, hopefully I can make a big impact, impress the coaching staff and my team-mates, and earn myself a place each week,” said Johnson.
“The priority after that will be earning the respect of the Widnes fans.
Eager to get stuck in, Johnson is keen to play footy and show the Widnes faithful what he can do on the footy field.
â€œIâ€™d like to think that Iâ€™m a 100% player who gives it his all and everything heâ€™s got, whether thatâ€™s in training or during a game, and hopefully I can bring that to Widnes.
“They’ve already got a great team here and with the extra bodies that they’ve brought on board for 2014, things are looking really promising and hopefully we can build on last yearâ€™s 10th place and climb even further up the table.â€
For the club, they are pleased to have strengthened their front-row department, as coach Denis Betts looks forwarwd to having Johnson at the club.
â€œPaul will add a lot of depth to our squad and create a bit more competition within the group, which is always a good thing, “said Betts.
“Heâ€™s a lad from the St. Helens area and a really talented player who has been involved in the top flight for a good few years now and he will certainly make our pool of players much more solid.
â€œAs an out and out front-rower, his work ethic, ability and no-nonsense approach make him the person that he is. There were certain times last year when we were missing those character traits, and his inclusion will certainly go a long way towards steering us in the right direction.
â€œWe believe that heâ€™s picked a good time to join the club and by the same token, we also reckon that itâ€™s a good time for us to have brought him here. Paul is at the age now where heâ€™s keen to kick-on with his career and hopefully, weâ€™ll get to see the best of him in a Widnes shirt.â€