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Monday, 22 December 2014

PHIL YOUR BOOTS: Great weekend on the cards for Barrow Raiders

THIS weekend promises to be a great one of play-off rugby league in Championship One, involving the four teams who have won promotion.

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I always thought our division would throw up the most unpredictable results and be the most competitive.

Is this competitive nature driven by the lure of promotion? I’m pretty sure it is, but the argument over promotion’s pros and cons will go on forever.

Tomorrow we travel to the Keepmoat Stadium to play the top team Doncaster. The winners go straight to the Grand Final at the Halliwell Jones in a fortnight, but as a reward for finishing in the top two, the defeated team get a second chance at home next week.

As much as the bank manager would love us to get another home game, with the gate receipts and bar takings coming in, ourselves as the playing/coaching staff have a target, and that’s to go through at the first time of asking, not the hard way.

Doncaster have built their success on their big pack of forwards and Paul Cooke pulling the strings at stand-off.

Our boys really need to arc up tomorrow and be ready for a battle. However, watching them training over the last week or so, I’m pretty confident they are up for that physical battle.

One man who will hope the physicality stays below mouth level is Andy Ballard. Bal has recently had a lovely set of veneers fitted in preparation for his modelling career after rugby. Along with getting his eyebrows plucked weekly, it’s no wonder he has a lot of followers on Twitter looking at all the topless photos he posts of himself!

The elimination semi-final takes place up the road at Derwent Park, where Workington host Whitehaven.

Town have won all games against their biggest rivals this year and probably start as the slightest of favourites with the bookies.

I think it will be such a close game it could well be decided by goal kicking. Haven probably have the edge in that department in Carl Rudd and Jamie Rooney – as you can tell, I’m sitting on the fence as I don’t have a clue who Doncaster will play next week!

I love this time of the year when all the rumours are flying about where players will be playing next year.

Everyone seems to have a ‘good reliable source’ on who is going where and such like.

Over the last couple of weeks the club have been talking to our players about 2013. I went into the boardroom after training one of the nights and found a bag of doughnuts – I don’t know who agreed to having those as a signing-on fee, but it was good business done by the club I thought!

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