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Thursday, 31 July 2014

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BARLA boss: Let’s put on a show v Barrow

A PRIDE of Lions will be on the prowl at Craven Park tomorrow (kick-off 2pm).

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DEBUT: Millom’s Marcus O’Brien will make his first open-age BARLA appearance against Barrow tomorrow

BARLA Great Britain head coach Paul Crarey brings a squad of 22 to face Barrow Raiders in a pre-season friendly, hoping his side can put on a bit of a show.

Included in the side are Dalton’s Adam Nicholson and Marcus O’Brien, of Millom, who will be making his Open Age debut.

Crarey, a former Barrow RL hooker, is looking forward to the game against a side he saw in action against Keighley in their opener last week.

“I always enjoy going back to Craven Park,” he said. “I enjoyed it last year when I went with Cumbria and it was a good game. Everyone makes me feel welcome when I go back. I am glad to be going back.

“I think it is a good place for them to go because the fans appreciate rugby. They clapped Keighley when they played well and hopefully they can support our lads as well.

“We have got kids from all over the country and it is a massive experience for them.

“For us to raise the bar at this stage of the game is a testament to BARLA, they want to go and play better sides and give kids an opportunity to play professional rugby. I am really looking forward to it.”

But the BARLA boss feels it will be a massive test for his team against a side which includes some great players like Liam Harrison and Liam Campbell.

“They have got threats all over the field,” he said. “But we’re not bothered about that, we are bothered about turning up and hopefully we’re going to come and play rugby.

“We don’t want to come and knock out sets and be boring, we want to challenge Barrow and put them under a little bit of pressure.

“The result doesn’t matter to both sides, but we want to go there and put a little bit of a show on. “Really we are a bit like Barrow, we are experimenting a little bit and see what the lads are like under pressure.”

The BARLA squad will have two training sessions before the match and says Crarey about the game: “It is either going to go one way, we are going to get blown off the planet, or we can compete and give them a game and, hopefully for the fans and for us, we can compete.”

Crarey said of O’Brien: “Marcus had a fantastic game in the county championships against Yorkshire and was unlucky not to get man-of-the-match coming off the bench. He was really dynamic and puts himself around, he’s very quick.”

Regarding Nicholson, he added: “Adam got man-of-the-match in championships.

“He knows our systems inside out and he’s progressed as a player over the last 12 months – absolutely unbelievable.

“He is a fantastic player since we moved him into the forwards, he has been absolutely phenomenal. He has got a fantastic engine, he’s got a great offload.”

Unfortunately, Walney Island’s Danny Morrow is injured and misses out, with Crarey saying: “He would have been in the squad, he is a fantastic player and athlete.”

The BARLA squad comprises 12 Cumbrian players due to the fact that it is a Barrow-based game, said Crarey: “We have got some tremendous players in the squad, we are not the biggest of sides, but the kids can play.”

Crarey said it was “absoluetly fantastic” that Barrow, have put in some sponsorship money for the game which will go towards the BARLA tour of Australia next year.

BARLA Great Britain Squad: Ryan Rogers (Pilkington Recs), Sam Forester (Maryport), Pat Foulstone (Dewsbury Celtic), Mike Johnson (Skirlaugh Bulls), Tom Moorby (Drighlington), Scott Lofthouse (Kells), Francis King (Wath Brow), Keiron Murphy (Hunslet Old Boys), Ryan Smith (Wigan St Patricks), Danny Lynch (Pilkington Recs), Richard George (Seaton Rangers), Ricky Hough (Myton Warriors), Marcus O’Brien (Millom), Johnny Goulding (Cockermouth Titans), Adam Thomason (Leigh Miners Rangers), Sean Foster (Wigan St Cuthberts), Zach Johnson (Westgate Wolves), Ricky Huby (Wath Brow Hornets), Steve Marsh (Blackbrook Royals), Matt Huby (Wath Brow Hornets), Dave Lowery (Kells), Adam Nicholson (Dalton).

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