Denis Betts heaped praise on “busted” back Chris Bridge after the retiring veteran helped power Widnes to a comprehensive victory over Featherstone Rovers.
Bridge and Rhys Hanbury both claimed a hat-trick of tries as Widnes swept aside Featherstone 58-10 to maintain fourth spot in the Super League Qualifiers.
Charly Runciman and Stefan Marsh also collected braces with Joe Mellor getting Widnes’ other try in a one-sided win, but it was the performance of 33-year-old Bridge - who is hanging up his boots at the end of the season - that left Betts purring in particular.
The Vikings boss said: “I was very satisfied with that. We wanted to be more ruthless this week. We got opportunities this week and we took them.
“Chris Bridge was a big part of that and when he turns up and wants to play he is one of the best centres in the competition. He is high on confidence at the moment. He loves doing this job and he wants to finish (his career) in the best possible way.
“He has been an important player for us and he was driving the team to be more ruthless.
“Playing is enough for him now. He just wants to finish on a high. He’s played more this year but injuries are catching up on him. He’s busted but you forget how good a player he was when he plays.
“We played some decent stuff. They came to play and they had some good shape but we strangled them with discipline and field position.”
Betts also felt that picking from a near fully-fit squad helped the Vikings dispatch Featherstone in such a clinical fashion.
He added: “It was a similar situation to last week at Halifax. The ability to pick the same side three weeks on the trot has been nice. I changed the bench around and it’s nice to have bodies in there, players who are fit and healthy.
“A real positive for us is that we are coming into this next phase with a healthy squad.”
With Leigh upsetting Catalans in France, Hull KR downing London and Warrington overcoming Halifax, Widnes could ill afford a slip-up against Rovers, but they had no concerns on that front as they ran in 11 tries.
Betts said: “That win was important but also important was the points difference. Last time we were in this situation the points difference was like an extra point for us and it was worth having. We spoke about it at half-time and the players went back out there and got the job done.
“The lads will have a couple of days off now - a weekend really. But when they get back we will keep our intensity high and roll into Leigh.”
Featherstone head coach John Duffy cut a disappointing figure after the match and admitted his team were well off the mark.
They trailed 34-4 at half-time and only had tries from Misi Taulapapa and James Lockwood to show for their efforts.
Duffy said: “I’m very disappointed with the performance today. Widnes have taken us for a great lesson.
“We took the lads in at half-time and questioned people’s attitude. We have a lot of learning to do and I’m glad we have some time to look at this at training.
“These (Widnes) guys are full time and play high intensity stuff. They have a fantastic squad and have been unlucky in some of the Super League games this season to finish where they did.
“We didn’t handle them well. We showed a bit of ourselves early on in the second half and then poor skill lets us down.”
Rovers looked jaded following their 32-32 draw with London, but Duffy said: “These boys know what is coming. There’s no excuses for me.
“We will have a good week and a half together. Our players looked a bit lethargic. And when your skill is off then it’s very difficult. We have to look ourselves in the mirror and get back to being the Featherstone I know and having the right desire and attitude.”