Barrow Raiders forward Anton Iaria says the squad are excited by the prospect of fighting for a play-off spot, come the end of the Betfred Championship season.

With 18 rounds played, the Raiders currently occupy the sixth and final play-off place.

However, the next three matches are against their closest challengers – starting this Sunday with a trip to Sheffield Eagles.

That fixture is followed by a home clash against seventh-placed Bradford Bulls at the Matt Johnson Prestige Stadium, before a meeting with Widnes Vikings at the upcoming Summer Bash. 

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Iaria, 26, believes impressive back-to-back victories over York City Knights and Whitehaven give the Raiders the perfect platform to build from heading into those games. 

“With our 1-17, and even the guys that aren’t playing every week, we’re really strong across the board,” he said. “It’s such a good team to be a part of. 

“There’s so much quality in the group, and we’ve had two wins in a row now, which is always nice.

“We’ve got really high standards of ourselves, and that Monday night game against Halifax wasn’t a good reflection of us at all. 

“We had to bounce back quickly, and not a lot of people tipped us to win in York, but we’re always confident that we can do a job in every game.

“Hopefully we can keep building until the end of the season and see how far we get.”

The Raiders have shone on their return to the second tier, winning 11 of their opening 18 matches to give themselves a shot of reaching the Championship play-offs. 

The performances of off-season recruit Iaria have been a real note, with the Italy international scoring three times in 21 appearances this season, 18 of which have been starts.

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Despite impressing in recent weeks, he admits each game will continue to take on more importance as attention turns towards the business end of the season. 

“I’m loving it now that summer’s here, and the ground isn’t just mud,” he joked. “There’s lots of good vibes, we’re all enjoying our rugby and we’re posting plenty of points.

“We don’t talk about [the play-offs] specifically, but everybody knows that things are starting to heat up. 

“Pretty much every week now is do-or-die if you want to secure a place in that top six. 

“All we can do is work hard in training and take each game as it comes. We all work hard in defence and the rest takes care of itself.”

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