Vikings continue to invest in Isa
Widnes Vikings are today delighted to announce that Willie Isa has signed a one-year contract extension, which will keep him in Vikings’ colours until the end of the 2014 Super League season.
Auckland born Isa earned a glowing reputation down under for his outstanding speed and strength and made his NRL debut with Penrith Panthers in 2008, before moving to Melbourne Storm the following year. International honours followed in 2010 when he made his Test debut for Samoa against New Zealand.
The 24 year-old initially joined the Vikings from Castleford Tigers, with whom he had spent the 2011 season, ahead of Widnes’ first year back amongst the game’s elite. To date, he has featured in 42 games for the Club and scored 2 tries. Just last week at the Club’s annual End of Season dinner, Willie’s outstanding ambassadorial work, which sees him continually going above and beyond the call of duty in the locality, was officially recognised and he became the beneficiary of the ‘Community Player of the Year’ award.
Pleased to have retained the services of a key member of his playing roster, Vikings Head Coach Denis Betts said: “Willie’s attitude, enthusiasm and character are second to none. He is a great human being who’s fantastic to have about the place.
“He gives you everything and you can’t knock that. He looks after himself and trains hard every week, and he’s been defining his place in the team.
“Over the last month, he’s found himself. He asked for an opportunity to prove himself as a middle-unit player and he’s been proved right.
“We’re trying our best as an organisation to keep those kinds of people here, and I am delighted that Willie will still be with us in 2014.”
Sponsored by Runcorn & Widnes Weekly News in 2013, Isa is typically a wing / centre by trade, but he finished the 2013 Super League season in blistering form with a sequence of top-drawer performances as a back row forward.
It is a challenge that Willie admitted he is thoroughly enjoying, although he stressed that he is keen to keep hold of his good looks for as long as he can and not become another stereotypical ‘bruiser’ too soon, joking: “It’s going alright but I’m not sure if I’m ready to be compared with the ugly blokes that play in the pack just yet, because I’ve got my image to think about!
“Seriously though, I just play the game hard anyway and the extra workload that you have to put yourself through when you’re playing in the middle of the field is something that I am really enjoying. I’ve got every confidence in the boys around me to back me up, in the same way that I back them up and things seem to be going pretty well at the moment. To tell you the truth, I’m gutted that the season has ended.
“Being a professional rugby league player comes with plenty of responsibilities and every single day I am trying to develop myself further and do the right thing, because I’m representing my family too.
“We’ve got a great bunch of players at Widnes, we’re moving in the right direction and I’m proud to wear the jersey. The Club has always been an option for me and my family, and I was really pleased to sign an extension to stay here for longer.
“Obviously there’s a feeling of disappointment in the group that we missed out on the ‘Top 8’ this time around, but there’s also a belief that we can kick on and definitely achieve it next year.”