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Sunday, 21 September 2014

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Holty takes positives from Barrow Raiders loss at Featherstone

RAIDERS boss Darren Holt is confident the spirit shown by his side in refusing to capitulate at Featherstone will hold them in good stead for the Championship season ahead.

Barrow were 46-0 down to the league leaders at half-time at Post Office Road, but rallied after the break and played some of the better rugby.

Two tries from Dan Toal saw them draw the second period 12-12 and the increased effort in both attack and defence impressed the coach.

“If you had asked me what my emotions were at half-time, it would have been different,” said the Barrow boss.

“I was very, very disappointed at half-time. The one thing that stood out for me – and I have never done this before – but I was questioning the players’ heart and their courage out on the field.

“Defensively, it was a very, very poor performance in the first half. We were not sticking on tackles and they were almost playing touch rugby at times – it was that easy for them.

“I gave them a bit of a rocket at half-time, maybe just asked them a few questions, saying ‘look yourself in the eyes, look each other in the eyes in the second half’.

“We went out again and we could have won that half quite easily. The game was done by half-time, but you’ve got to be very, very pleased with the reaction we got at half-time from the boys and through the second half.

“It’s something that we’ve got to take forward with us.”

Barrow’s next game is against Batley Bulldogs under the Craven Park floodlights on Thursday night.

The higher performance level in the second half at Featherstone now needs to be carried forward into that game and Holt is pleased with the reaction he saw.

He added: “It was absolutely imperative that we got that reaction.

“If we’d come out there in the second half and defended like we did in the first half, then we could have come off on the end of an 80-0 or a 90-0 result, and the lads’ heads would certainly have been down.

“You try and keep the lads’ heads up. They are a very young team and they are very impressionable.

“You’ve got to keep their heads up all the time and I usually don’t try and be overly harsh with them, but at half-time I had no choice and I got the reaction from them.

“Going into the Batley game, there will be a few changes, but I’m looking for that reaction again and I’m absolutely 100 per cent certain that every one of our home games is winnable.

“We’ll be going out on Thursday to get that first win.”

Thursday’s game will see changes to the Barrow team, with both Dean McGilvray and Sean Casey possible injury casualties from Featherstone.

But attitude has not been injured, and Holt said: “Some of the boys were saying after they came in following that second half performance ‘see, we’re just as good’.

“When they start believing that – and for young kids, it’s all right talking about it, but it’s really believing it – that’s the big thing.

“At half-time when they came in, their heads were down, but when they came in at the end, their heads were up and they were ready to go again for next week.

“Don’t get me wrong, there are going to be a lot of knocks along the way this season, because of the way we have decided to go and the young team we’ve got. There will be some setbacks, but there will be some highs as well.”

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