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Sunday, 21 September 2014

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Rugby league world watching Walney ace Danny

DANNY Morrow has risen through the amateur rugby league ranks to represent his country at under-23 level. Now he has been called up to the Great Britain open-age squad. He talks to LEO CLARKE about his recent tour of Jamaica with the Cougars and his hopes for the future

GIFTED player Danny Morrow is carving a big name for himself in the world of amateur rugby league and is also causing a stir among the professional ranks.

His success on the field earned him recognition by his nation and the Walney Central player has just returned from Jamaica, where he represented Barla GB under-23s.

Although he played in one match, the opener against Jamaica, before a torn hamstring in his left leg while warming up in the second game ruled him out of the other two tour games, he did enough to impress the coaches.

So much so that Danny, standing at around 6ft and weighing 15st 3lb, has been selected to train with the Barla open-age side with the prospect of playing in two matches later this year.

The 22-year-old has also been invited by home-town club Barrow Raiders to train with them, and a club in Australia are keen on the young second rower.

Danny, however, is staying very level-headed about his rugby career as the BAE Systems worker has also been selected on the yard’s high potential scheme.

Yet rugby league hasn’t always been a burning lifetime ambition for Danny, as his dad and Walney chairman Shaun revealed that he was once keen to be a horse rider.

That, thankfully for rugby league, was a fleeting thing as Danny, who has played the sport since under-eight level, turned his attention back to the 13-a-side sport.

During his career, Danny has played in virtually every position and his potential as a national player was spotted while he was representing his county when Cumbria faced Barrow Raiders earlier this season.

That led to a Barla invitation and he was heading to the Caribbean, thanks to his workplace allowing time off, the generosity of the Barrow Sports Council who donated £350 towards his travelling expenses, his fabulous team-mates, and also the mini RL section who completed a sponsored bike ride.

Danny, grateful to the help he received for funding his tour, said of his selection: “I was over the moon. I got a letter through the post saying I had been selected for the GB under-23 squad. I had to go down to Dewsbury on several training sessions where they pick the final squad and I was picked.

“I went down to Portsmouth for a game against the Royal Marines, that was to select the final 13. I started at 12 and I had a good game there, put a few points on the scoreboard and I was selected to start in Jamaica.”

But it was after putting in a sterling performance in the tour opener that Danny’s hopes of playing in the two further games were dashed through injury. He said: “I wanted to play all three games. I was selected to play all three but someone else had to go in.”

Just recently Danny discovered his selection to the senior squad.

He could face the combined services and later a South Sydney select team, a development side from South Sydney Rabbitohs, later this year.

Talking of his selection for the under-23s, Danny said: “I got a letter through the post saying they would like to invite me to come down training and so I was ecstatic about that, that was for the Great Britain Cougars. And, now getting another letter for the Great Britain Lions I am over the moon about it.

“I thought because I had only played one game in Jamaica I hadn’t done enough to secure my place at a higher level. But in that one game I put a few points on the board. I was gutted about missing the two games and I thought I hadn’t done enough, but obviously I had because I got another letter through the post saying I had been picked for the Great Britain Lions open-age squad.”

Danny is weighing up his future and said: “I have got a couple of options, Barrow have sort of asked me if I want to go down and play for them, just train, no pressure on signing or anything. It was just before the Great Britain tour and it wasn’t the right time to go down.

“There’s also an Australian side who want me to go over there, but I may have some issues with work as I am on a management course. I am on a high potential scheme, I was picked out of about 70 applicants and I am sort of on a scheme that puts you on a good track towards a management role, so I have to go back to college, and so maybe it is not the right time to move over to Australia just yet. But it is something I would like to think about in the near future. It’s a team called Cooma, which I think is semi-pro at the moment, in New South Wales, next to the capital, Canberra. They offered me work and accommodation.”

Barla head coach Paul Crarey heaped praise on Danny, saying: “He is probably the best-running back-row forward in the amateur game in South Cumbria. He has got the potential to play at Barrow if that’s what he wants to do.”

Crarey also mentioned Raiders captain Liam Harrison texted him after the game against Cumbria and described Danny as ‘awesome’.

Raiders coach Darren Holt said: “I had seen Danny play in a couple of games just before he went on tour. Danny is more than welcome to come down. From what I have seen he has the potential to step into the professional game.”

Danny’s dad Shaun coached his son for the first 10 years of his life. Shaun was also a coach to Raiders duo Jack Pedley and Andy Litherland in their formative years, and many of his then young side have progressed into the open-age ranks.

As well as learning from his dad, Danny has picked up tips from Walney open-age coach Jan Elliott, from his county and especially Great Britain, which he said has helped him progress in “leaps and bounds”.

Ever the willing learner, Danny also believes that, if he went to Barrow or Australia, he would pick up new skills.

Shaun said: “He wasn’t always into rugby so he has proved that you can come in later on and get better. He packed in two or three times and now he’s stuck at it, hit the gym and shown with a bit of dedication what exactly he can do.

“He even packed in once and we bought him a horse because he wanted to take up horse riding. He must have been 10 or 11, it didn’t last long and then he was back at the rugby then. He gets some ribbing out it.

“Since he has been with Great Britain his game has come on leaps and bounds.”

Also with Danny in Jamaica were, Millom full-back Chris Warren, Dalton centre Dan Sayle and Barrow Island prop Jack Sutherland.

While he was in the Caribbean for the tour, which saw the side come home with three wins from three, Danny missed the chance of meeting Olympic multi-gold medallist Usain Bolt, as he was unable to attend the game because of his hamstring injury.

Joining Danny in the Barla open-age squad is former Walney player and now Dalton ace Adam Nicholson.

Crarey, also Dalton coach, said of Nicholson: “I think Adam definitely could be a professional rugby player given the chance to do it. He has been absolutely outstanding for us. He’s quick, he’s a big unit, he’s a decent player.

“He played under-23s for Barla and was outstanding against the Ukraine.”

The pair trained at Shaw Cross, Dewsbury, at the weekend and are set to make final 20-man squad to play the Combined Services at West Hull on September 2.

Have your say

well done danny you deserve success

its about time walney committiee see the light and make shaun first team coach
maybe all the good players would stop

Posted by big bubba on 27 October 2012 at 09:31

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