The lure of a Super League spot may be fading but Sheffield Eagles are learning lessons on how to reach the top flight.
Eagles director of rugby Mark Aston, who lost Steve Thorpe to a broken leg, felt the outcome of the match would stand his side in good stead in the long run.
“We certainly learned a few lessons today,” he said. “We had a dig, but you have to be clinical and we weren’t. They scored on 19 minutes and we collapsed. We got ourselves in a pickle and lost our way. We had a chat at half-time and we addressed it a little.
“Mistakes can hurt you and we made fair few. I’m disappointed that we didn’t show ourselves in the best light. It’s the week in, week out stuff and we’re not ready for it.
“Steve Thorpe has broken his leg and he’s out for the season and pre-season. It’s a big blow as he’s been one of our best players. Steve did 55 minutes and then we lose him. He’s in the hospital now and they’ll sort him out. We are waiting on news on him but he’s being looked after well.
“The system has given us an opportunity (of Super League) but it’s tough for us at this moment in time.”
Stefan Marsh scored a hat-trick of tries – two in three first-half minutes and an easy effort three minutes from time – with Kevin Brown, Charly Runciman (two), Rhys Hanbury, Danny Galea, Joe Mellor and Paddy Flynn also touching down for the Vikings. Only four of the 10 tries were converted – two successful efforts apiece from Danny Tickle and Lloyd White.
Sheffield’s tries came via Scott Turner and Keale Carlile.
It was not all good news for Widnes, though, with Macgraff Leuluai and Willie Isa suffering nasty injuries. “The win does come at a cost - we’ve lost Macgraff Leuluai with a broken leg and Willie Isa with a medial ligament injury,” coach Denis Betts added.
Widnes: Hanbury, Flynn, Dean, Runciman, Marsh, Brown, Mellor, Gerrard, White, Dudson, Tickle, Galea, Leuluai. Substitutes: Heremaia, Isa, Manuokafoa, Whitley.
Sheffield: Togagae, Turner, Yere, Worrincy, Smeaton, Aston, Brambani, Thorpe, Carlile, Stringer, Knowles, Straughier, Taulapapa. Substitutes: Davey, Battye, Walker, Tonks.
Referee: J Child (RFL).