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Wednesday, 17 December 2014

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Dalton boss Crarey talks Great Britain ambition

HE’S played for and against some of the top players of his era, now master rugby league tactician Paul Crarey is putting the skills he learned on the field into good use off it as head coach of BARLA. He talks to LEO CLARKE

PAUL Crarey has a passion for rugby league. He has tasted virtually every aspect of the game during his illustrious career – from a player to coaching both amateur and professional clubs.

As head coach of BARLA, his enthusiasm remains undiminished. In fact he’s looking to get more from the game he loves.

During his time in rugby league, Crarey has taken on board the wisdom of many the top coaches he has worked with, passing on the knowledge he has gained to the players now under his tutelage.

Looking after a team at international level and being a self-employed roofer is no easy task and their demands could easily take their toll on a lesser man.

But his role as a top coach is helped through a network of equally enthusiastic friends and colleagues spread throughout the rugby league world who will always let him know how players under their gaze are progressing.

Crarey took over the BARLA reins earlier this year. He still works with Cumbria in an advisory role and is also coach with his local side, Dalton.

But it’s in his role as boss of the BARLA national team where his influence is being noticed.

International manager Mick Turner, who was head coach for 10 years, said of the 46-year-old: “I think he is very well organised, he is very enthusiastic, he likes to get things right and is genuinely a nice chap to get on with.

“I think some of the ideas are great. He keeps up to modern theories on coaching.”

Barrow Island stalwart John Jefferson is Turner’s assistant and someone a grateful Crarey said helped him settle into his role.

Jefferson said: “He’s very good, he’s got his finger on the pulse.”

Crarey was highly influenced as a young player by Aussie legend Rod Reddy when he was coach at Barrow RL and still keeps in regular contact with the former Kangaroo tourist. In fact as a coach Crarey stands by some wise words passed onto him by Reddy – ‘It’s not what you achieve, it’s what you put in place.’

Crarey said: “I think it’s important that you leave things behind as a coach, not just strive to achieve things for your own personal self. People sacrifice a lot to win things but you shouldn’t sacrifice building something up. It has longevity then.”

Crarey said of his role with BARLA: “I have enjoyed it. It is a bit of travelling, all the training sessions are in Dewsbury, but I have had a bit of support.

“Mick Turner is the heart and soul of BARLA, he works really hard and doesn’t get the credit he deserves, also John Jefferson, from Barrow Island, who has been fantastic for me.

“I was approached by Mick Turner who asked me if I would like to take the role, it didn’t take me long to say yes. It’s the highest you can get as an amateur, and that’s where I am at the moment. It’s pretty much an honour, there’s not that many who get to do it. I don’t know how long I will keep the job for, whether it’s a couple of years or, if you do a good job, do they want to keep you there? While I am in the amateur game I am happy to take the job as long as they give it to me.

“It’s about getting the best talent in the country and bringing them together and getting them to play representative football which is a fantastic honour. “Once you are mentioned as a BARLA international it stays with you forever, they can’t take it away from you.”

Crarey has travelled to Parramatta, Australia, where he spent some time collecting ideas which he now puts into good effect.

“I probably learnt more in a month, than I had in a lifetime,” he said.

Crarey is extremely proud of what he and West Cumbrian coach Peter Smith achieved with Cumbria, seeing them win the county championships.

The exciting side recently defeated Yorkshire in the Tri-Counties, to set-up a title decider against Lancashire next month. With more players coming through, it augers well for Cumbria rugby league.

In recent months Crarey has brought in Dalton’s Adam Nicholson and Danny Morrow, of Walney Central, to the Lions set-up.

Others from Cumbria look sure to follow in their international footsteps with Marcus O’Brien, of Millom, already knocking at the door.

“Cumbria rugby league is on the up, you just have to look at Egremont, Wath Brow and Kells,” said Crarey. “Cumbria will have a big imput on the BARLA team, they are champions.”

BARLA Open Age side are set to go to Australia in September, where they will take in a number of matches and also be guests of Souths Juniors on the Central Coast after landing in Sydney.

They will also be going to the Australian Grand Final before flying back home. Before that, there is the little matter of the Lions facing Barrow Raiders in a pre-season friendly at Craven Park on January 13.

It is a game in which Dalton’s Nicholson, voted man-of-the-match in the recent Cumbria Tri Counties against Yorkshire, could feature in the Open Age side. Morrow, however, is an injury doubt.

Crarey is looking forward to the challenge saying: “Our next game is against Barrow, we are going to raise the bar a little bit on the fixtures we get. We are going to play teams who are favourites to beat us, we are looking for tough fixtures to progress ourselves and let the lads prepare, if they want to push on, to play professional rugby to see what the difference is.”

Always looking to progress, Crarey is unlikely ever to lose his love of a game, as he said: “I want to make a difference so I am just going to work hard for BARLA and see where it takes me.”

Have your say

Player, I suggest you come to Dalton and have a look at all the stuff Cresta does for the 'Youth'. BTW be there at least 30 mins before training starts as Cresta will be there (with others) setting everything up for the kids training sessions. This aswell as coaching 2 openage sessions and coaching BARLA.....Oh and the day job to. Dalton has a cracking youth set up and can boast a team AT EVERY AGE GROUP that is competetive. Not bad for a club that you say isn't looking at long term growth.

Posted by Another one in the know on 10 January 2013 at 23:53

There is no doubting that Paul has a tremendous amount of ability, knowledge and contacts within both the amateur and professional game and that he is widely respect but my point is that during his coaching spells with Dalton (1st time) and Walney he IMO was not looking at long term growth for each of the clubs otherwise he would of work with the players that he had rather bring players in.
Also during his time at Walney he advised players not to sign for Barrow as he knew this would weaken the Walney team.

He appears to have learned from his time from both of these coaching stints.

I was not trying to have a dig just stating how it was.

Posted by Player on 7 January 2013 at 12:26

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