Crarey lands BARLA role

James Gordon

Former Barrow and Whitehaven head coach Paul Crarey has been appointed as the Head Coach of BARLA and the BARLA Great Britain Lions.

Crarey, 46, stepped down as Whitehaven chief in 2008 due to health reasons, but has since returned to the game as BARLA Cumbria County Open Age coach, and was in charge of the BARLA Great Britain Lions tour of Duabi last year.

Crarey said: “An opportunity to coach your Country at whatever level comes along once in a lifetime. To be appointed Head Coach of BARLA is a great honour. I cannot begin to tell you how proud I am.

“My whole life is dedicated to rugby league and this just shows that if you put your head down, work hard and dedicate yourself you can achieve your goals.

“At first it never sank in, but just think about it.  I now have the opportunity to work with some of the finest young men and athletes that our country produces. The sport of rugby league surely is the “greatest game”  I want to build on the work of my predecessor John Fieldhouse and develop the Great Britain squad into something that is feared throughout the international community.”

A hooker in his playing days, Crarey played for Whitehaven, Carlisle and Barrow, as well as representing Cumbria, appearing against Australia in a World Cup warm-up match in 1992.

He was approached in the close season about taking up a role at Wakefield as part of Richard Agar’s new coaching set-up, but work commitments put paid to any move from Cumbria.

BARLA Great Britain international manager Mick Turner said: “I already knew what a very good coach Paul was from his deeds as Head Coach of the Cumbria who last year became the BARLA Three Counties Champions for the first time for four years.

“Whilst in Dubai I spoke to him on numerous occasions when he outlined his philosophies of coaching and his visions for the future and those qualities and previous experience led me to believe he should take on the role.”

BARLA Yorkshire County Head Coach Tony Spence has been named as Crarey’s assistant.