Kingstone Press League 1 Preview: Barrow Raiders v Newcastle Thunder

Barrow Raiders ground out a win over University of Gloucestershire All Golds last week.

Coach Paul Crarey said: “The game was really slow and a little bit dour. It turned into a wrestle-a-thon and the rucks were slow. We’re not big enough to play up the middle, we like to play quick. They’re a good side, well-structured but sometimes mistakes let them down.

“Our goal is to make the play-offs. We’ve got a young side; a lot of amateurs and academy players who have never played at any level and a lot of them are local boys. To compete you’ve got to beat sides like Newcastle at home.

“We were well beaten by them at their place but it was the first game of the season. There was a big crowd and their new signings were on show. We were pretty raw and hadn’t played away, all our friendlies were at home, so it was a big shock for us but we’ll be prepared this week. We’ve trained really hard and got some bodies back.

“We’re looking forward to the challenge of Newcastle. They had a close call last week, so it’s not just us that struggles, but a week’s a long time in rugby league.

“You can play badly one week and the next you’re on top again. I think it will be a quick game because they play nice, attractive, fast rugby, which is what the crowd wants to see so hopefully it will be entertaining and we come out on the right side of the result.”

Second row Adam Nicholson is a doubt with a knee injury but Barrow welcome back prop Anthony Bate and centres Cameron Pitman and Andy Litherland.

Newcastle Thunder were given a stern test at London Skolars last week.

Coach Stanley Gene said: “We went down at seven o’clock in the morning but that’s no excuse, it’s just the mental attitude of the players.

“Sometimes you go down there thinking it’s going to be an easy ride but players in teams below you will train extra hard and prepare 100 times better to play against the sides who are above them.

“We got taught a lesson in the first half but in the end it shows you’re a good side if you play badly and come out with the two points. I wasn’t happy with the performance but happy to take the two points.

“Barrow are a top side and are hard to beat and we’ll be working hard. We know how to play them and are confident enough going there.”

Newcastle will be without prop Matty Barron, who has been suspended for one match, and full-back Louis Sheriff, who has been banned for two matches.

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