IT seems like a Barrow Raiders pre-season would not be complete without a trip to the boxing gym on Brook Street for some intensive training.

Thursday night saw the Raiders squad once again put through their paces by Barrow ABC coach Jeff Moses, with the club’s national championship finalists Paul O’Reilly and James Braithwaite on hand to help out too.

Paul Crarey knows the benefits of boxing training from his own playing days, although unlike the 1980s there is not so much need to put those skills into use on the rugby field.

Indeed, along with the fitness side, the Barrow head coach is keen for his players to instil the sweet science’s values of self-discipline and high standards into his players.

“We did boxing when we played and in the 1980s, it was the era of the biff,” said Crarey. “Fights were a regular occurrence and so were big bans - and it’s a good job they didn’t have much video evidence then.

“I had a couple of big bans; I got seven games when I got sent off at Salford one weekend, so I’ve had my share, but it’s about discipline, this sport.

“The lads clean the gym up after they’ve finished and they have great principles and standards, and that’s why we want to come here and we’ve got a great relationship with Jeff.

“It doesn’t cost us anything to come here even though they’re running on nothing and they don’t get a lot of funding, but what he does in the town probably needs massive recognition because he’s a great bloke and gives a lot of kids a chance to have some discipline in their lives in a controlled environment.”

Moses and Crarey have a long-standing relationship and the links between the town’s professional rugby league team and one of its amateur boxing clubs extend to boxers being able to access the Raiders’ physio staff if they are suffering from injuries.

Crarey is in no doubt the training sessions are beneficial to his player as well, particularly with fitness being a key area of focus ahead of the 2019 Betfred Championship season.

“He’s a good friend, he has a passion for sport and he has a passion for his sport, and it rubs off on everyone,” said Crarey.

“We come here, everyone is grounded and there are no airs and graces with Jeff. Everyone has got to work hard and there is no hiding place, so that’s why we come.

“We’ll fit some structure in somewhere down the track and our idea this year is to get really fit, and boxing is a tremendous way to do it. They’re some of the fittest people in the world, so we come here and the lads enjoy it.”