Smith keen to shine for Barrow Raiders

FANS could have a new hero to cheer from the JF Hornby Stadium terraces in the shape of signing Jonno Smith.

The one-time North Wales Crusaders hero and latterly a firm favourite at Rochdale Hornets has agreed a 12-month deal with Barrow Raiders.

Barrow coach Paul Crarey had tried to sign the ‘pocket battleship’ soon after his return to the club. That time it didn’t happen but now he is delighted to have captured the mobile forward who will team up with friends Jamie Dallimore, Ryan Fieldhouse and Karl Ashall.

Smith has just returned from holidaying in Australia, and Crarey said: “He has signed for 12 months, he was at Rochdale last year.

“I tried to get Jonno here when I first came, he was on the verge of coming but pulled out at the last minute. He contacted me again and said he would like come in, and this time he wouldn’t pull the pin.”

Describing his talent, he added: “He’s a little bit out of the box, very hard to deal with, has great hands and he’s a little pocket battleship, a quality player. I think he will be great for the fans and he’s within our budget.

“He wanted an opportunity with us, he’s big mates with Dally (Jamie Dallimore) and Karl Ashall so he fits right in. He’s come back in good nick from Australia and I am quite pleasantly surprised of the condition he is in, so we are looking forward to working with him.

“He’s very tough, uncompromsing and gives us that little bit of an X factor on an edge or in the middle. He is very difficult to stop close to an opponents line.

“He is the old-fashioned squat, barrelly forward and he is very quick for a big lad and is so hard to handle because of his height, which I think is about 5ft 9ins, but I think he is about 16.5 or 17 stone.”

After his first training session with Barrow, Smith said: “It was pretty tough after a couple of months in Australia, but it was good to get out with the lads and meet them.

The explosive forward prefers to play in the back row but is happy anywhere in the pack.

Fans can expect to see him make strong carries, produce a number of offloads, and get over the whitewash, given the chance.

Smith joined recent signing, Aussie Alec Susino at Thursday’s training session which included some hard defensive work, and Crarey was impressed by what he saw from both of the players.

“I thought they were both outstanding,” he said. “I think they are two exciting players for the club and were pretty much bargains for this division.
“I thought Alec was outstanding, some of his off loads were outstanding. The lads were talking about it in the changing room about how well he did play. He was strong with a great offload.”

Crarey thanked Barrow’s board of directors for all of their hard work and added: “We want the Barrow public to get behind us, get season tickets and support us in any way they can by catching a game.”

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