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Tuesday, 23 December 2014

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Barrow Raiders sign ex-Super League prop

TALENTED youngster Jack Spencer has been unveiled as the latest recruit in Barrow Raiders’ youthful pack.

Jack Spencer
New Barrow Raiders signing Jack Spencer

The 21-year-old former Salford City Reds Academy and first-team prop travelled to Craven Park last night for his first training session with Darren Holt’s squad.

At 6ft 1in and 15st 13lbs, Spencer brings bulk to the Barrow font row, which has needed reinforcement since injuries ruled both Ruairi McGoff and Jamie Butler out of most of pre-season.

Veteran forward Mike Whitehead was brought out of retirement for a third spell with Raiders last week, but coach Darren Holt said he was still on the lookout for another player for his front row.

“I think he was highly thought-of at Salford, but unfortunately he maybe didn’t get as much first-team action as he had hoped,” said assistant coach Phil Atkinson.

“I’m hoping he will certainly bring some aggression and some good go-forward to us and he’ll toughen up the middle of our defence.

“We’ve got two lads who are potentially out for the long-term and with Mike signing as well, there is now good competition for places.

“When Ruairi and Jamie come back, there will be six or seven guys looking for a front-row shirt. Hopefully that will make training intense among that group of players and it’s back to the old adage of competition within the squad can only help.

“I’m hoping Jack can bring some aggression to our pack.”

Director of rugby Andy Gaffney added: “Jack is a top quality player.“We have been looking at bringing in another prop forward to bolster our front row options for some weeks now and I am delighted that Jack has chosen to sign for Barrow.“This is a really exciting signing for the club, for sure.”

Spencer spent time in Australia this year training with NRL side Wests Tigers and playing junior and reserve grade rugby there.

Injury prevented him from being offered a new contract Down Under, but he is friends with both Matthew Haggerty and Adam Clay from his time at Salford and should slot easily into the Barrow set-up.

Holt is still on the lookout for a second-row forward to bring into his squad, with former Barrow man Paul Noone – part of the 2009 Championship Grand Final-winning squad – among those who have had talks over a move to Craven Park.

Noone left Barrow at the end of the 2012 season and played against them for Oldham in Championship One last term.

Holt has expressed a desire to bring in someone with experience to add to the youthful vigour among his forwards and, while not confirming Noone was a target, said: “If you look at the squad we’ve got together, having everybody there on Tuesday night, we had a good overview of the squad and I already knew that experience, especially up in the Championship, is something that is lacking a little bit.

“It would be a good move to bring somebody with a bit of experience in, somebody with a good training ethic and who can rub off on the rest of the boys.

“That can only teach them good habits.”

One man who will definitely not be coming to Barrow this season is former Huddersfield Giants Super League prop Keith Mason.

Several sources had linked him with a move to Craven Park, but Holt scotched the suggestions and said: “I can dispel that rumour.

“Don’t get me wrong, if he was affordable and he wanted to come up, then it is something that we would look at.

“But I think where the squad is at now, we are just finishing off the squad and I don’t think there will be any big names.

“You know my take on the big names anyway – I’m not a big believer in the big names.

“I’m a big believer in getting people down who maybe have something to prove, who are at the start of their careers and who are going to work hard to continuously improve.”

Have your say

To say he must be a good player as he is from Salford is a daft comment. Max wiper is from Salford and what did he do last year for haven? Nothing!! Now we sign him. Mental

Posted by Cuffy on 3 December 2012 at 19:16

Tell Sam Burgess he's to young to be a prop

Posted by Rugby watcher on 3 December 2012 at 12:32

View all 3 comments on this article

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