THERE are several hallmarks which Paul Crarey’s Barrow Raiders team can be recognised by – one of those being a backline which contains a delicate balance of pace, power and skill.

Added to that since the end of the 2018 Betfred Championship season has been versatility, something which was a priority after an at-times bruising first year back in the second tier as injuries ravaged the squad.

The three-quarters were particularly hard hit, with second rows Jarrad Stack, Danny Morrow and even Dan Toal having to slot in at centre during varying points of the year.

But new boys Stargroth Amean and Tee Ritson have brought the strength in depth at full-back and on the wing, while Deon Cross – already impressing Crarey in pre-season training – and Jake Spedding have boosted the three-quarter options.

With Declan Hulme, Tom Loxam, Brett Carter and Shane Toal agreeing new contracts too, Raiders head coach Crarey now has plenty of options at his disposal in case of injuries or to cope with different opponents.

“Stargroth is probably a little bit more physical than Tee defensively,” said Crarey. “Running the ball, if Tee finds space he’s gone, but Stargroth is very good at contact and can ride strong tackles.

“Brett can play at full-back as well, so we’ve got cover there, and on the wing – and we’ve got Deon, who can play centre or on the wing. He’s been massively impressive since he’s come here.

“He might be the find of the season for us because he’s a great bargain, but he’s a great kid. He’s come and absolutely burned pre-season.

“He came in very, very fit, doesn’t shirk anything, and has fantastic footwork and genuine speed, so we’re pretty pleased to have him around and our back line looks very impressive. Jake Spedding has got tremendous feet for a big player, and he’s well-balanced and well-disciplined.”

Amean is one of three Papua New Guinea internationals Barrow have signed for 2019 along with hooker Wartovo Puara Jr and prop Willie Minoga.

The trio are currently training in Australia before linking up with the Raiders next month, and Crarey knows they will need time to adjust to the wintry conditions – much like Australians Alec Susino and Dean Parata did last season.

“It will be a big shock to them because it’s summertime over there in Queensland, so they won’t have seen anything like the conditions they’re going to walk into,” said Crarey.

“It will take a bit of time for them to settle and they’re probably top-of-the-ground runners as well because they’re used to playing on hard ground.

“We’ll have to look after them, nurture them through and get them integrated with the team, so it’s going to be a difficult start with trying to integrate players in. But we’re getting ready, there is a buzz around the place and all of the lads are buying into it.”