BARROW Raiders' new star man has revealed his excitement at joining the club after a year away from rugby league.

Gary Wheeler, who began his playing career at St Helens is set to spend the rest of the season at the Matt Johnson Prestige Stadium alongside a much-loved Liam Harrison as they sign for 2021.

The former Warrington and Toronto player told The Mail how he had fallen out of love with the game and used his time away to catch up on some much-needed family time, but now has a new inspiration to help the Raiders achieve their ambitions.

"The deal came about in about four hours and then I was training with the team later that day," the 31-year-old said.

"I was a bit nervous joining as I have been out of the game for a while now, but I was really surprised at how well the club was run as I did not know much about Barrow before I came.

"Andy Gaffney really sold the club to me and the coaching staff were great with me when I arrived.

"I am hoping to play in the next match and that would be the first time I have played since Toronto vs Wigan in March 2020.

"It is Barrow's ambitions, their progression plan, and the fact that they were down on players which gave me the inspiration to start up again.

"I was thinking about coming back last week then Andy just called at the right time really, it all just came about at once."

Wheeler was almost going to open a cafe near where he lives in St Helens before Covid put a stop to it all, but is now fully focused on helping Barrow achieve their goal of promotion.

Director of rugby Andy Gaffney, who was instrumental in getting both Wheeler's and Harrison's signatures was more than pleased to get them both on board.

"We have had quite a few injury problems in the centre position and when I was looking around Gary's name came up," he said.

"We are really excited to have him and Liam and it just shows that we can get the top quality players here.

"It should be good to see Gary's star quality on the pitch.

"Liam has history with the club and he wanted to come back and help us out."

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