Raiders pull off Fijian transfer coup
Last updated at 17:37, Wednesday, 14 January 2009
BARROW Raiders have pulled off a triple transfer coup by signing three Fijian stars of the World Cup writes PAUL TURNER.
Hooker Waisale Suka, stand-off Alipate Noilea and centre Seva Koroi have all been snapped up by the Craven Park club in a move sure to send shockwaves through the Rugby League Championship.
Noilea was one of the stand-out performers of Fiji’s World Cup campaign, where they were knocked out by hosts Australia in the semi-finals, with Koroi and Suka also playing big parts in the tournament.
Barrow club officials have been in talks with the trio for the last month, desperate to bring them on board and strengthen coach Dave Clark’s squad.
And the Australian boss was delighted to have bagged three players of such talent with less than a month to go before the start of the Northern Rail Cup.
He said: “It’s fantastic for us.
“It’s massive for the club. I don’t know how long it has been since Barrow have signed three international players like that.
“It’s great for the club, great for the town, great to see players of their quality wanting to come to Barrow.
“I’m sure they will have had lots of opportunities from other clubs and it’s good to see that they have recognised – like a lot of other people – that Barrow RL want to go places, have a good squad in place and hopefully, with their help, we can challenge this year.”
Koroi impressed Clark when he appeared for the Australian Fijians at Craven Park last month, a game in which the other two did not feature.
Both Clark and chairman Des Johnston spoke openly before and after the 26-all draw between Barrow and the touring Fijians about their desire to recruit several of the promising players from their side – although the names had been kept under wraps to allow the deals to be finalised.
Clark added: “Des has worked really hard to bring in a good squad and these are another three quality players we have got in.
“They will give us some depth and people will really be challenging each other now for positions, which is something that you really want.
“It’s healthy for the club and it’s good for the players to need to play at their best every week.”
All three have been playing their rugby league in Australia, with 24-year-old Suka appearing for Terrigal Sharks, Koroi, 28, for Wests Magpies and 25-year-old Noilea for Parkes Spacemen.
The club are now just waiting for approval from the RFL for the signings before they can be brought over to Barrow.
Johnston said: “Negotiations have been going on for some time and we have been in competition with other clubs for their signatures. It has been hard work, particularly with the time difference.
“They have been waking up in sunny Fiji and I’ve been on the phone to them from Barrow where it is 2.30am and I’ve had to sell them the both the club and town as being places where they want to be.
“They are now convinced that Barrow Island and Walney are simply misplaced South Sea Islands!”
The trio bring the total number of signings made by Barrow during the close-season to 10, with Clark and Johnston determined to build a squad that will compete with everyone in the division.
Already signed on have been Barrow-born pair Liam Campbell and Gary Broadbent, Australian Chris Young – who returns from his homeland to start training tomorrow – and former Super League players Ian Bell, Paul Noone, Andy Bracek and Andy Brocklehurst.
The majority of those players are expected to feature for the Barrow side when they take on Workington in Darren Holt's testimonial match at Craven Park on Sunday.
The kick-off for that game is 2pm, with admission £10 for adults and £5 for OAPs and under-16s. Family tickets are available for £25 for two adults and up to three children.
Admission can be paid on the gate, but season tickets are not valid for the match.
First published at 11:53, Wednesday, 14 January 2009
Published by http://www.nwemail.co.uk
Have your say
In order to survive in the Championship and hopefully strive for a playoff spot, Barrow needed to sign top players with experience. The kind of players we just don't have locally anymore. Des has managed to pull off several amazing coups, giving the Raiders every chance to do well in 2009. In my opinion we have the perfect blend of local, out of town and overseas players, with real strength in depth to cover for loss of form and injuries.
Barrow RL are back!
Last season I saw nearly all Barrow's home games and a couple of away fixtures and generally thought the rugby was brilliant. I am a fan, and I do want to see Barrow go well, and fully appreciate that good players are required when you go up a level. Now the "BUT" - Broadbent and Campbell apart, how many have of these signings have the interest of the Barrow club at heart, and are not here purely for the money and / or the visa? Eight non Barrovian signings seems too many as good as they may be.
P.S. I sincerely hope I am totally wrong.