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Saturday, 25 October 2014

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Barrow Raiders sign Super League ace and young starlet: full story

BARROW Raiders have pulled a pair of aces from the pack with a deuce of high-quality signings.

Kurt Haggerty
New Barrow Raiders signing Kurt Haggerty

Prop Brad Brennan – who spent the latter half of this season on dual-registration at Craven Park – and Super League second-rower Kurt Haggerty have both signed for 2013.

The duo join new full-back Dean McGilvray – officially confirmed as signing this morning – at Raiders as the club show their intentions for next season in the Championship in style.

Barrow boss Darren Holt, whose team were beaten 16-13 in the Championship One Grand Final by Doncaster on Sunday, hailed the capture of the duo as being big pieces in the jigsaw for the step up.

“Kurt has played 16 times in Super League this year and he has had some very good performances,” Holt said of the experienced forward, released by Widnes Vikings last week.

“Coming back down into the Championship was obviously a tough decision for Kurt after being up in Super League, which is where he wants to be, but with being released by Widnes, I saw an opportunity.

“I have watched a lot of the games he has played in this year, he is a very, very solid all-round player and he’s got a bit of x-factor as well.

“His experience and his nous, not just on the park but on the training pitch as well, hopefully that can rub off on some of our younger kids and help to bring them along.

“I see him as a big piece in the jigsaw. Going up into the Championship, we needed to strengthen the pack, get a bit of size and get a bit of experience in there and I think is what we have done.”

On 19-year-old Brennan, who played nine times for Barrow this season after joining on dual-registration from Warrington Wolves in June when Barrow were experienceing an injury crisis, Holt added: “Brad made an immediate impact when he came to us. He’s a big boy, a great trainer with a good attitude and he’s a lovely lad.

“He was keen to stay up here. He has enjoyed his time up here with us and it didn’t take long, once we got speaking to him, to get a deal sorted.

“I’m very happy to keep Brad on board. You forget how young he is – he’s only a 19-year-old and he is only going to keep getting better.

“Brad was unfortunate to miss out on the Grand Final, but it was only because of an ankle injury he picked up which meant he hadn’t been able to train.

“It would have unfair to play Brad ahead of other people. I’m sure he was disappointed, but coming through the ranks at Warrington he understands and he took it very well. He’s just looking forward to getting started next year now.

“It will be his first professional contract at open-age. He’s been playing for the under-20s down at Warrington and I just think he sees it as a new challenge now and I think he is looking forward to it.”

Ireland international Haggerty – son of former St Helens and Barrow hardman Roy – started his career at St Helens before playing for Blackpool and Widnes.

He is the most experienced of the six new faces announced so far at Barrow.

Other arrivals Brennan, Max Wiper, Matthew Haggerty, Adam Clay and – to a lesser extent – McGilvray are younger in their careers and Holt believes Haggerty’s wiles will be important for the side.

He added: “Don’t get me wrong, we have got a lot of boys in our team who have played up there already – the likes of Chris Larkin, James Nixon and Liam Campbell have all played in the Championship before.

“They have the experience, they know what it’s going to be like, but the new guys, the Andrew Dawsons and the Dan Toals, it’s new to them.

“I see somebody like Kurt, who has played Super League and played for Ireland, the experience he can bring he can bring will be valuable to them.

“Hopefully he can come down and settle in, like everybody does when they come to Barrow, and I just hope he enjoys his time up here. We will make it a good environment for everybody and let’s see what we can get out of it next year.”

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