Barrow Raiders have begun their preparations for the 2021 season with the huge signing of Cumbrian Shaun Lunt.

The 33-year-old former England hooker, who hails from Cockermouth, comes to Craven Park on a one-year contract with a wealth of Super League experience thanks to a chance phone call with Raiders head coach Paul Crarey.

Lunt, a Super League Grand Final winner with Leeds Rhinos, will bring his quality and nous as Barrow look to fight their way out of Betfred League One next year, a chance that was denied them this time around by the coronavirus pandemic.

After beginning his professional career at Castleford, Lunt moved back to Cumbria to play for Workington Town in 2006 and he made a huge impression, scoring 57 tries in 74 matches across three seasons.

His form earned him a move to Super League side Huddersfield Giants in 2009 and he helped them reach the Challenge Cup final in his first season, going on to score one try and have another disallowed in a loss against Warrington.

In 2012, Lunt moved to Leeds on a one-year loan and although he lost another Challenge Cup final against Warrington at Wembley, playing in the Rhinos' Grand Final triumph against the same opponents at Old Trafford more than made up for it.

He was loaned out again to Hull Kingston Rovers in 2015, making the move a permanent one the following year and he went on to captain the Robins in the 2017 season.

Tough times followed, however, as Lunt contracted sepsis in 2018, which kept him out the game for six months.

Thankfully, he made a full recovery and another loan spell at Leeds followed last year before a brief spell in the Championship with Batley Bulldogs.

At international level, he was capped by England in their Four Nations match against Australia in Melbourne in 2010.

Rugby director Andy Gaffney said: "First of all, the board and staff want to personally thank the 1875 Club members, who have made it possible for us to announce such a fantastic signing.

"Shaun comes with a wealth of experience. He's a natural leader that has played at the highest level, represented England, picked up a Super League winners medal with Leeds and has had three Challenge Cup final appearances.

"It's just an unbelievable signing to get over the line and it's all been made possible by the 1875 Club.

"It's so important people join that and you can see what we can do when something like this happens as a result of the work they put in."