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Page last updated at 17:09 GMT, Tuesday, 19 April 2011 18:09 UK

Quartet axed as Widnes Vikings prepare for Super League

Widnes Vikings

Widnes have told four members of their squad they do not figure in their plans for the club's return to Super League.

The quartet includes stand-off Anthony Thackeray, who was the club's leading tryscorer in 2010 and a key figure in their 2009 National Rail Cup success.

He is joined in not getting a deal for 2012 by forward Chris Gerrard, hooker Kirk Netherton and centre James Ford.

"This is a direct result of performances so far this season," said director of rugby Paul Cullen.

"This is phase one of the club's 2011 assessment process.

"The club would like to sincerely thank the four players for their contribution toward our successful Super League licence application.

"All four of them have taken the decision with dignity and maturity and have been model professionals throughout."

We've got to tidy up our ball control and our discipline. If we don't tidy those things we're never going to compete

Widnes forward Simon Finnigan

Prop forward Ben Kavanagh is the only player so far to be handed a Super League contract by the Vikings, who earlier this month were the first club to be handed a three-year licence from 2012.

Meanwhile, forward Simon Finnigan says his team needs to get back to basics if they are to compete for honours this season.

The Vikings, who have only won once in their last five games, suffered a 32-12 defeat by Batley on Sunday.

"I think we've got to tidy up our ball control and our discipline," Finnigan told BBC Radio Merseyside.

"You drop the ball, you have to tackle more and if you have to tackle more, you get tired.

"That's how we're playing at the moment and, if we don't tidy that up, we probably won't win next week either.

"If we don't tidy those things we're never going to compete. That's a major issue and it's quite an important part of the game and how it's played."

After five Championship games this season, Widnes, whio now face Halifax at home on Thursday, are sixth with seven points.

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