Clarke hails new signing Hock
Widnes Vikings’ new signing Gareth Hock will inject the “fear factor” into last year’s Super League bottom side, according to captain Jon Clarke.
The Vikings pulled off a coup with the season-long signing of the controversial, combative England back-row forward, who found himself in big demand after falling out with Wigan Warriors.
“I’ve played against him a lot of times in my career and I’d rather have him on my side,” said Clarke, who began his career at Wigan.
“I left Wigan as he was just starting out so I never got to play with him, but I’ve had a lot of battles over the years with Wigan when I was at Warrington and he was in the middle of them.
“He is a player you admire from afar. He brings a little bit of fear factor with his game.
“The confidence he will bring to the rest of the players and the opportunities that he’ll provide for his half-backs and his centres on his side will be phenomenal.”
Hock, who was heavily criticised by Wigan chairman Ian Lenagan for refusing to return to pre-season training, will be in familiar company at the Vikings, whose big ex-Wigan contingent includes his brother-in-law Kevin Brown.
Before Hock’s arrival, former Huddersfield Giants captain Brown was Widnes’ high-profile recruit for 2013 and he believes the powerful forward can make a big impact at the Halton Stadium.
“It gives everyone a big boost, the fans, the players, it’s created a buzz,” Brown said. “I know what he can do on the field and that’s the main thing. A lot of players will say how much they like him or dislike him but everyone will say how much they respect him.
“He’s 100 per cent in everything he does and he’s excited about coming to Widnes. He can’t wait to play and I’m sure he’s going to play really well for us.”
Hock is still recovering from shoulder surgery but hopes to make his Widnes debut in round two of Super League against St Helens at the Halton Stadium on February 10.
Vikings coach Denis Bett said: “He’s had a simple medical and I’m hoping to get some more in-depth information in the next couple of days when we’ve had a more extensive look at him.
“I’m sure he will play a part in the first month. He’s always been a good healer. When he comes into the side he will give us a massive lift.”