Barrow Raiders outside back Shane Toal says Sunday’s Betfred Championship trip to Halifax Panthers has the potential to be an exciting spectacle as his side look to bounce back to winning ways.

Beaten by a strong Featherstone Rovers outfit on Good Friday, Paul Crarey’s side will be keen to recover quickly, against a side three places and three points below them in the league table. 

The Raiders’ recent defeat to the league leaders was the first setback on their travels in 2022, with impressive away wins already secured at Widnes Vikings and more recently Bradford Bulls.

Ahead of Sunday’s trip to the Shay, Toal insists his side know they have the quality to hurt teams, both at the Matt Johnson Prestige Stadium and away from home.

“Halifax will be a really tough game. We know they’re really good at home, but there’s nothing to say that we can’t go there and win based on our recent form as well,” he said.

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“They’ve just beaten Bradford, so confidence will be high. However, we’ll be looking to bounce back from Friday’s game against Featherstone, so it has all the makings to be a really good contest. 

“It could be a good indicator of where we are as a squad at the moment, and hopefully we’ll get a win again straight away. 

“It’s just about keeping that away form going and getting back to winning ways.”

Shane Toal in action for the Raiders during the 2021 season.

On a personal note, Toal has enjoyed a productive start to the new season, having scored five tries in eight matches, equalling his tally for last season in half the number of games.

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Having missed the opening four rounds of the 2022 season after suffering a warm-up injury ahead of the Raiders’ opening pre-season friendly against Cumbrian rivals Workington Town in January, the 26-year-old returned to action with a hat-trick in the Raiders’ 38-12 Betfred Challenge Cup victory over League 1 Rochdale Hornets, and has gone on to score twice more in recent matches.

Now, though, he says full focus is on helping his side hold their own in each and every game on their return to the Championship.

“I was gutted when I missed the start of the season. Watching the lads do so well, I was disappointed not to be a part of it,” he admitted.

“When you’re injured, you train a lot on your own, so now being back in the team is good and I’m enjoying it a lot. 

“We’re playing some good rugby this year, and it’s nice to just be competitive. Aside from the Featherstone game, every match has been close, even against Huddersfield in the cup.  

“We went away to Bradford and Widnes and won both of them. I feel like we can be competitive against most of the teams around us throughout the season.”

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