Sheridan looks for a happy return

If the first Sunday of the Tetley's Super League season is a time when fresh aspirations are put to the test, then nobody has more to prove than two new Widnes players at Leeds today.

Ryan Sheridan and Andy Hay were part of a ruthless winter cull at Headingley, where both were shown the door despite being regular first-teamers and recent Great Britain internationals.

The shortage of decent scrum-halves in the British game was vividly illustrated by the scramble for Sheridan, with both Hull and promoted Huddersfield believing that he was joining them before he finally threw in his lot with Widnes. The Vikings had already signed one new scrum-half in Batley's Dean Lawford, but that made no difference to their coach, Neil Kelly.

He saw Sheridan as a player who could add an extra layer of quality and organisation to the squad who performed so well last year; as it turns out, the lack of a fit stand-off means that Sheridan and Lawford – originally team-mates and rivals at Sheffield Eagles – will probably both start at Headingley.

The need for Hay was less obvious, but early injuries to Andy Isherwood and Ryan McDonald mean that Kelly is now doubly pleased to have such an experienced second-rower on board.

Given the loss of the surprise factor this season, Kelly has acknowledged that he simply needs better players. His frustration is that he has not been able fill the gap left by the loss of Steve Carter and Craig Weston by signing Henry Paul. That would have taken Widnes on to another plane, but the club lacked the unanimity needed to swing the deal. They now look to have a team capable of consolidating last year's achievements, but not of greatly improving upon them.

As for Leeds, they could be poised on the brink of an exciting gamble. It has long been a truism that they have the best youth production line in the game; now the test is how much faith they will put in the outstanding youngsters who are champing at the bit for an extended run in the first team. It would be a signal of their intent if Rob Burrow, Danny McGuire and Ryan Bailey were all heavily involved this afternoon.

Leeds' only rivals for the quality and quantity of young players are Wigan, who start their campaign at Castleford. The popular choice for relegation, Halifax, hope to catch London cold at The Shay, while Hull, genuine top four candidates, are at Wakefield, who look better equipped to stay clear of the drop zone than for several seasons.

Arts and Entertainment
filmPoldark production team claims innocence of viewers' ab frenzy
Life and Style
Google marks the 81st anniversary of the Loch Ness Monster's most famous photograph
techIt's the 81st anniversary of THAT iconic photograph
News
Katie Hopkins makes a living out of courting controversy
people
News
General Election
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Revealed: Why Mohammed Emwazi chose the 'safe option' of fighting for Isis, rather than following his friends to al-Shabaab in Somalia

Why Mohammed Emwazi chose Isis

His friends were betrayed and killed by al-Shabaab
'The solution can never be to impassively watch on while desperate people drown'
An open letter to David Cameron: Building fortress Europe has had deadly results

Open letter to David Cameron

Building the walls of fortress Europe has had deadly results
Tory candidates' tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they seem - you don't say!

You don't say!

Tory candidates' election tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they appear
Mubi: Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash

So what is Mubi?

Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash all the time
The impossible job: how to follow Kevin Spacey?

The hardest job in theatre?

How to follow Kevin Spacey
Armenian genocide: To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie

Armenian genocide and the 'good Turks'

To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie
Lou Reed: The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths

'Lou needed care, but what he got was ECT'

The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond
Migrant boat disaster: This human tragedy has been brewing for four years and EU states can't say they were not warned

This human tragedy has been brewing for years

EU states can't say they were not warned
Women's sportswear: From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help

Women's sportswear

From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help
Hillary Clinton's outfits will be as important as her policies in her presidential bid

Clinton's clothes

Like it or not, her outfits will be as important as her policies
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders