Thursday, 8 March 2018

Sunday's Coming: Barrow

Barrow come to Spotland on Sunday having made a bit of a boom start to their Championship challenge.

Having been flogged 56-16 at London in Round 1, the Raiders produced two startling results that made the Championship take serious notice of their intent. First of these was the 8-all draw with the travelling Rugby League Circus that is ‘Toronto’ Wolfpack, followed one week later by an eye-catching 24-20 win over Leigh Centurions that edged Neil Jukes closer to the exit.

Normal service was resumed in Round 4, with a 32-12 defeat at Batley. Last week saw Barrow frustrated as their home game with Dewsbury fell victim to the weather.

Rather than implement wholesale changes, Paul Crarey has fine-tuned his promoted side for life in the Championship.

He’s added Italian international prop Alec Susino who comes via Cronulla Sharks Holden Cup side and Mounties in the Sydney Shield. He’s joined by fellow Italian international, hooker Dean Parata signed from Manly’s NSW Cup feeder outfit Blacktown Workers. From closer to home, prop Glenn Riley took the well-trodden path from Whitehaven. Oh - and they signed Jono Smith too: and we know what he’s capable of…

A glance down the Barrow squad reveals a side big on ‘awkward quality’ - lots of familiar names who are a proper handful if left unpoliced.  The Toal brothers Shane and Dan, Lewis Charnock, Martin Aspinwall, Karl Ashall, Jarrad Stack - give these guys half an inch and they’ll unzip you.

Indeed, winger Shane Toal scored a hat-trick against Leigh - and he’s our one to watch this week. Crarey says of him: “He's opportunist and has a desire to have a go and compete with players… we play a system which suits (our wingers) and they're heavily involved.”

Notable absence from Sunday’s line-up will be irksome wonder-half Jamie Dallimore - serving a three-match ban for a Grade C dangerous contact in the Batley game - a cannonball tackle on Dane Manning. Naughty.

Hornets come into Sunday’s game on the back of a harsh French lesson in finishing. Despite Alan Kilshaw’s young team competing well with a huge - and hugely experienced/expensive (delete as applicable) - Toulouse pack, the French side were ruthlessly clinical with ball-in-hand: exploiting every half chance to maximum effect. And it’s that level of stone-cold execution that Hornets must strive to emulate as we go in search of the vital first points of the season.

As our Online Bucket Collection comes to a close, we’ll have the actual buckets out again on Sunday. We’ve been overwhelmed by the generosity of not only Hornets fans, but fans across the game and it;’s looking increasingly likely that we’ll get pretty close to the £2,000 mark. Cheers everyone - see you on Sunday.