Barrow Raiders sign World Cup forward

BARROW Raiders have signalled their Championship intent by signing an Australian international forward.

They beat off rival clubs to capture former Cronulla junior Alec Susino, who has already represented his adoptive country Italy in a World Cup warm-up game.

There is also a sign of more players heading to Craven Park to join an already talented squad.

Raiders coach Paul Crarey is delighted to have picked up a rising star so soon following a nail biting end to the season, which saw Barrow promoted after a 10-6 win over Whitehaven in the League One play-off final last week.

“We have actually signed a player that is in the World Cup,” said Crarey of Susino. “He has played all his junior football for Cronulla Sharks. He is an exciting young fellow with massive potential.

“He is now playing for Mounties, which is a feeder team for Canberra Raiders. He is a very exciting young player, very passionate, he is a big unit and can play.

“He can run hard and tackle hard, and he has a great passing game, which is something we need when we go up a level, and he can play big minutes as well.”

Susino’s arrival in January will be welcome news to Barrow, who will start next season without Andrew Dawson, who is due to become a father and has moved to Seascale.

Brad Brennan, who went on loan to Coventry Bears, has been released.

Susino will link up with crowd favourites Joe Bullock and Tom Walker, another impressive youngster, for the campaign in which Barrow will face powerful opposition like Leigh Centurions, Toulouse and League One winners Toronto Wolfpack.

Crarey added of Susino, who holds and Italian passport: “He has taken a gap year in his studies to come over here, he has got degree and is very intelligent, but the kid can play.

“He is a big unit, is quick, strong and has a good offload.”

“We wanted a young lad who is champing at the bit and is not afraid to go out there and play.

“He has had a couple of offers from other Championship clubs but his agent is a good friend of mine – he has played Super League and I have coached him – and that has probably got it over the line.”

Fans can capture a glimpse of Susino during the match between Italy and Malton on YouTube.

Big things are expected from the 22-year-old, but as Crarey said: “It’s very hard to break into the NRL, especially a young fellow, but he has been knocking on the door. He got a rising star award last week.”

Looking ahead to the future, Crarey said: “We are talking to a few players, putting feelers out, and asking them how much money they want, but our budget is tight. So if they can’t fit into it we won’t pick them up.

“We are looking after our own lads first, negotiations are going on all this week. So hopefully they will all want to go again, some might not want the challenge of the Championship but that’s up to them.

“We going to build a young and exciting side that hopefully can keep us in the Championship.”

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