New signing Corey Thompson is set to make his Vikings debut at full-back against Warrington Wolves on Sunday (3pm kick-off).
Thompson, 25, moved to Widnes in the off-season from NRL side Canterbury Bulldogs, where he featured in an NRL Grand Final, and has settled in well to his new surroundings.
He said: “I’m still getting used to the time difference, but all the boys have welcomed me very well so it’s made the adjustment very easy.
“I’m enjoying training and have played most of the sessions at full back. It’s good to get a go back there, as that’s where I played growing up and you sort of have that free roam around the field. I spent three years on the wing for the Bulldogs so full back or wing it doesn’t bother me.
“Back home pre-season is difficult because the weather is 40 degrees and you’re sat there with heat stroke half the time. Over here it’s tough, the last couple of days the gym coach has flogged us, but it’s good, it’s what you need for pre-season to start the year on a good note.
“I’m very keen to get out there on the 27th and hopefully the Widnes supporters will come out to support us.”
It’s Thompson’s first Christmas away from home, and he’s been using Facebook Messenger to keep in touch with his family and friends Down Under while he gets settled in Widnes.
“It’s a bit different to Sydney! Sydney is a bit full on but here I like the little town and the locals are very nice. I go down to the cafe every morning and the owners there are nice to me and the people that go there are too – it’s a good little area and I’m enjoying it.
“I’ve not got homesick once yet! I think it’s because of the way everyone at the club has welcomed me. I haven’t really missed home and all the boys have been there whenever I need something. Charly (Runciman) takes me grocery shopping once a week and our Player Welfare Manager Tim Holmes has been unbelievable, whenever I call him he answers and does his best to help me.”
Thompson gets his first taste of life in a Widnes shirt against local rivals Warrington in the Festive Derby, and already has high hopes for the Vikings in 2016.
He added: “We’ve got a very good chance. Top eight should be no problem for us. We should expect more than to just finish in the top eight. I think we should be a threat to Super League and push for higher. Don’t just settle for the top eight, push for that top four.
“We’ve got a lot of young talents, like Matty Whitley, who’s a young bloke who’s going to go far. A few of the academy players have been training with us and I didn’t notice how young they were to be honest. The way they train and put themselves forward you would think they were older and had a lot of experience. A lot of them haven’t played Super League yet, but they’ll be good in the future.”
Widnes Vikings v Warrington Wolves, Select Security Stadium, Sunday 27 December, 3pm
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