Having played for the Bears from Under 8s right up until his 16th birthday his former coach Graham Walker is rightly proud to to see Owen's progression. Equally the presence of Owen's former teammates Ellis Lewis and Jack Penney in the first team squad is a testament to efforts Graham put into that team for many years.
The Vikings announcement and the accompanying video highlight the very promising future Owen has in the game.
Owen Buckley in action
"Widnes Vikings are delighted to announce that young winger Owen Buckley has signed his first full-time contract with the club, putting pen-to-paper on a two-year deal.
The highly rated eighteen-year-old winger is a product of the Vikings’ academy, having joined the club initially at scholarship level. Local lad, Owen, was also a member of the Widnes Development Squad. He played his community rugby at both West Bank Bears and Halton Farnworth Hornets, and studied at Sts Peter and Paul Catholic College in Widnes.
Owen has already made impressions at first team level in the Vikings’ pre-season fixtures ahead of this season, making try scoring appearances against Warrington Wolves and Whitehaven RLFC.
Owen Buckley says, “Signing a first team professional contract is something that I’ve wanted to achieve for ages, so I am made up to sign this deal. To take this next step in my career feels amazing.
“Being around the likes of Pat Ah Van and Stef Marsh, who are two experienced players, has benefitted my development. I have been able to learn from them, taking things from their game and implementing it into mine.
“I’ve always watched Widnes growing up, so to make that step up into the first team setup now is great. The ambition is to make myself a starter in the Widnes team in the future.”
Denis Betts, Head Coach of Widnes Vikings, says: “Owen has been training with the first team squad for the majority of this season. He has impressed the coaching staff massively since making the step up, including his showings in the pre-season games this year.
“He is a player with huge potential and quality, and I look forward to seeing how he progresses in our first team squad.”
Phil Finney, Head of Youth at Widnes Vikings, says: “Owen started his journey with Widnes Vikings in the Development Squad, and ultimately joined the scholarship setup as an under 16. Owen wasn’t immediately contracted as an academy player, but persevered, improved and dedicated himself to achieving his ambitions. He is a great example to other young players who face setbacks and adversity, of what can be achieved with perseverance.
Owen has played in a number of positions as he has come through the game, giving him a strong technical and tactical skillset that he employs well on the wing.”"