20th April 2018, 20:12 | Barrow

"Battling" Barrow excited for Toronto test

Barrow Raiders resume their rivalry with Toronto Wolfpack this weekend as they host the Canadian outfit in the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup.

Both sides won promotion from League 1 last year and have settled well in the Championship, with the high-spending Wolfpack top of the league while Barrow sit ninth.

The Raiders have been in exceptional form on home turf, losing just once in almost two years, and beating the likes of Leigh Centurions at Craven Park while drawing with the Wolfpack in the league.

Raiders boss Paul Crarey knows the challenge that faces his troops, especially given the pitch won't be boggy like the last time the two teams met.

"The lads are excited about it this week," he said.

"With Gareth O'Brien and Ashton Sims coming to town, they are at full strength and it's a dry track this time which will suit them.

"We have worked all week on recognising spaces because that’s what they do well.

"They are blowing everyone away at the moment, only us and London have got anything out of them this year.

"It's something for our crowd to come and enjoy.

"The Barrow public appreciate good rugby and effort and if we can do that and compete with (the Wolfpack), I'll be happy come 5pm on Sunday.”

Despite the home record going out the window against Featherstone last weekend, the challenge of beating the Raiders on their home patch is still something other teams will find menacing.

Making Craven Park into a fortress has been a few years in the making, as Crarey explained: “It’s something we built up in League 1,”

"If you want to get promoted then you have got to win all of your home games and pick up a few on the road.

"I think we only lost two league games last year, one against Toronto and the other against Whitehaven away.

"We then beat Whitehaven twice, once on their patch in the 8s and then in the final.

"Our fans are great, they help us.

"Even against Featherstone, the whole of the Popular Side stayed behind and were chanting. It makes a big difference”

The victory over Leigh and draw against Toronto will be the talking points of Barrow’s season, whatever happens.

With a chance to add another chapter to their book of shock results, Crarey admitted the Wolfpack will need to be off their game for Barrow to have a chance of progressing.

"It's about the start (of the game)," he added.


"They (Toronto) started really well against us last time and should have had a couple of tries that they bombed.

"It's about us hanging on in there. We hung on and came from behind to beat Leigh.

"Against Toronto we were down and got points late on to get the draw.

We are fighting and battling for wins that’s what we have got to do.

"We have got to be at our utmost best and they have got to be complacent.

"We need composure, complete well, find some spaces and if we do that then we will be in the game.

"It's a massive ask on a fast track."

Massive ask or not, the one thing Championship teams have learnt so far this season is that you never write off the Raiders.