Furness Raiders academy kids to make League Baptism

THE pre-season training is over, the warm-up game is in the bag – now the real thing is about to start for Furness Raiders under-19s.

Coach Darren Carter’s fledgling level 3 academy side  head to the midlands to take on Loughborough College, and they are hoping to make a big impact in their first College Rugby League match this Wednesday (kick-off 6.30pm)

Carter, who has guided the youngsters from day one, is rightfully proud of his squad and he is hoping they produce the goods at the university ground after making a four-hour journey to the venue.

He is not underestimating the opposition, a large chunk of who are understood to be part of the Midlands academy team who face Super League teams at their level.

And although work and college commitments have affected his squad, Carter is looking for an opening win feels he is taking a strong 18 down for the match which is set to be  played on a 4G surface.

In come two 16-year-olds – centre Tyler Lancaster and second rower Matty Brown – both of whom will start.

“ I have got absolutely no doubt that they won’t let us down, they are talented players,” said Carter.

“They will be starting in their positions, they have got the first shout at it and good luck to them two.”

Also included are exciting players like Ryan Johnson and Joe Crarey, with Carter adding: “We have got a really good 18 players who can’t wait to play to be honest.”

Carter doesn’t really doesn’t know what to expect as his side begin their league journey and he added: “It is probably more about us going and expressing ourselves and enjoying the rugby. I think if we get too hyped up on the winning and losing it might take away what we are trying to build.

“It is about the lads enjoying themselves and trying to minimise the pressure. They are all apprentices or full-time students and we know that is their main priority, but it is important that they play rugby and enjoy themselves, because when you enjoy yourself you play the best rugby.

“Don’t get me wrong, we want to win, but it’s about going and seeing what the standard is like. It will be tough because Loughborough will have a decent squad. I think it is the majority of the Midland academy team and they play against some of the Super League teams so they are probably a little bit more up to speed than what we are, but we are looking forward to the challenge and we can’t wait to go.

“One thing is for sure our lads play to some good structures and we play quite an expansive game. We might no be the biggest team and we might have a few players out, but what we are pretty well organised and sometimes that can count for a little bit more than size.”

Carter, supported by team manager Dennis Porter, assistant coach Dave High, strength and conditioner Paddy Maher and   hard-working  administrator Keith Nutter, is aware of the desire  shown by his players and added: “They are making big commitments and we understand that, but if we make it enjoyable  and a good place to be, those decisions to make those commitments will be a little bit easier.”

The academy supported by sponsors and partners – Furness College, the Super Lotto, Furness Building Society, Travel the Globe, the Ambrose and Knightsbridge Motors – play their first league home match on Wednesday, October 12,  against Wakefield College at Craven Park, when it is hoped a healthy crowd will come to watch them in action (kick-off 7pm).

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