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Warriors look to ‘Family’ connections to repel Viking raids

04 Mar 23, 9:22AM 0 Comments

Written by Stuart McLennan

London based community rugby league club Wests Warriors will play in the third round of the Betfred Challenge Cup against Championship club the Widnes Vikings on Saturday 11 March.

Making it this far in the Challenge Cup is a solid achievement on the back of winning the Southern Conference League (SCL) for the past two years.

Team coach and club co-founder Kimbo Parkinson attributes the success to the family atmosphere at the club.

“There is no secret in all honesty,” Parkinson revealed to Everything Rugby League.

“We have a club culture that our players buy into and believe in, and we treat all our players and their family members as our own family. We only train once a week but we spend a lot of time outside of footy together whether that be trips away, dinners, drinks etc. It just comes down to having that good relationship on and off the pitch.”

Parkinson, an electrician by trade, hails from New Zealand, arriving in London in 2004 via Australia.

“Myself and another Kiwi lad started the club in 2014 after entering a local 9s tournament here in London. We actually won the tournament and from that win the talk of starting our own club began and the rest is history.

“As far as Kiwis and Aussies go we still have a decent amount of players from both countries playing for us but over the past two three years we have had a really good amount of British lads join the club.

After securing an 18-14 victory against SCL rivals London Chargers in the second round of the Challenge Cup, the Warriors will head up to DCBL Stadium in Widnes, (the Warriors generously gave up a home ground advantage for an expected larger crowd), in what will be the biggest moment in the club’s relatively short history.

“I didn’t ever think we would be in a position to be playing such a massive and successful club. But here we are and the hard work since 2014 has paid off, so now we just enjoy this occasion while it lasts. We know we are in a very unique and privileged position which may never come around again,” Parkinson said.

The coach admits his side is at very long odds with the pundits to defeat Widnes at home but his team, which boasts former Avignon and St George Illawarra NSW Cup halfback Jack Payne, are not conceding defeat.

“We will enjoy the moment because it’s a momentous occasion but as a club we will always go into a match with the attitude we are playing to win.

“We understand we are a community club playing a Championship club and no one but ourselves is backing us to win but we have a belief in our players and their abilities so we will prepare and go into this match just like every other game.

“It’s footy, anything can happen!”

Widnes Vikings vs Wests Warriors, 3pm, Saturday 11 March, DCBL Stadium, Widnes.

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