Barrow Raiders head coach Paul Crarey admits his team were off the mark in all areas as they fell to defeat at Newcastle Thunder.

The already-relegated Thunder claimed a 36-24 victory at Kingston Park, embroiling the injury-ridden Raiders in a physical battle which proved too much in the end.

Barrow’s fight for survival in the Betfred Championship now hangs in the balance, although victory next Sunday against York RLFC Knights would be enough to see them avoid the drop.

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Speaking post-match, Crarey said: “We didn’t give ourselves a chance today. We went eight sets to two down, they had a mountain of possession and we got drawn into a physical battle with Wood and Broadbent being sin-binned. They upset us a little bit and we fell right into their trap.

“We tried to recover in the second half but we came up with some really big defensive errors which is unlike us.

“I thought that we were off – at half time I said to the players that we’re off in all aspects of the game, all of the things that Newcastle were good at, and then we came out in the second half and we were 20 nil down after five minutes.

“Then we got our act together and started playing a bit of rugby with some nice tries and then we pressed the self-destruct button again and they scored two breakaway tries that took the game away from us.”

Prior to the game, the Raiders were hit with further injuries to Jarrad Stack, Ryan Johnston and Brett Carter, with Ben Evans also taking ill, but Paul Crarey believes that the result did not reflect his side’s effort and determination yesterday.

“I won’t fault my players – Stacky rang in this morning saying that he was unable to play but he put himself out there, as did Ryan Johnston and Brett Carter. When we got here, Ben Evans didn’t feel well at all but he had two small stints.

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“We’re at the back end of the season. We’re bruised, battered and busted and yet we’re still competing.

“I’d like to thank all of the fans that turned up today and sang all the way through the match even when we weren’t at our best.

“I still feel as though we’re in the box seat, we’ve got a chance against York on the last game of the season, but we’ll be looking at those results [Swinton Lions vs Whitehaven] with anticipation.”

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