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Monday, 22 December 2014

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Barrow Raiders forward Haggerty expects tough BARLA test

LINE-BREAKING former Super League forward Kurt Haggerty expects to be picked out for some special treatment as Barrow Raiders host BARLA Great Britain tomorrow.

The 24-year-old ex-Widnes Vikings back-rower sees the Craven Park clash with the amateurs as the pick of Barrow Raiders’ pre-season games as he comes up against a pair of players he knows really well.

BARLA full-back Ryan Rogers and substitute hooker Daniel Lynch both play for the Pilkington Recs side Haggerty coached to North West Men’s League success last year.

And the new face in the Barrow pack in under no illusion they will be out to take revenge for the hard work he puts them through in training.

“I really hope I’ll be featuring, because I coach an amateur side Pilkington Recs and I’ve got two lads who will be featuring for Great Britain,” said Haggerty, who made his club bow in the 23-20 defeat to Keighley Cougars last week.

“With a bit of luck, I’m hoping to play against them – that should be interesting.

“It’s definitely the pick of the pre-season games for me. I’m really looking forward to it.

“The two lads are definitely going to be after me. They’ve been texting me all week saying they are out for me and all the other lads in the team are coming up to watch, so I think I’m going to get some stick.

“But I want to get my own back on them after coaching them for so many years!”

Haggerty was a close-season signing from Widnes, where he made 16 appearances in the top flight last season, having previously played for the Vikings and Leigh Centurions in the Championship.

While only 24 – he celebrated his birthday on Tuesday night with a muddy training session and a cold shower at Craven Park, as did near-namesake Matthew Haggarty, who is precisely two years his junior – he comes to Barrow with a lot of experience.

He has been impressed with what he has seen in both training and the match against Keighley, but knows tomorrow’s game will be a tough encounter.

“From coaching the amateurs, you really do see some really good talents who just never made it – lads who are still playing who never had that chance, or maybe messed up when they were younger,” he said.

“The level of these amateurs, I think is absolutely fantastic and I still think some of the players I have seen could play now in the Championship or Championship One with the right coaching.”

He added: “I thought the lads did really well last week. I thought they played well for 50 or 60 minutes and we just got tired with it being the first game.

“They have trained really well. The lads are really fit considering they are part-times – they really do train hard off the field as well.

“In the game, I really was surprised against Keighley. Considering we have not done much with the ball, I thought we looked all right at times.

“I think we are going to get better and better.”

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