HALIFAX forward Sam Barlow has credited the club’s conditioner Nigel Halmshaw as the key figure in his resurgence in form.
Barlow, the Scotland international, had been on the fringe of boss Karl Harrison’s first team plans in 2012 as he battled to overcome the after effects of close-season surgery on his foot and ankle.
The former Siddal junior made a first team comeback at York earlier in the spring, but has been in and out of the side since and only finally hit something like form after being called up for Sunday’s Challenge Cup defeat at Leigh.
Harrison, who started the front rower on the bench, labelled aspects of Barlow’s performance as “awesome”, as the slimmed-down forward constantly threatened to break the Centurions’ line.
And the player himself was quick to highlight the work done by Halmshaw, the former Bradford Bulls and Warrington trainer, to get him back in shape.
“It’s been a lot of hard work, a lot,” admitted Barlow, who looks certain to keep his place for Sunday’s top of the table clash at Featherstone.
“Nigel deserves a lot of the credit because he has worked really hard with me.
“I am getting there now, I have lost about two stones although there is still a bit more to come off.
“When I played at York I was well overweight and that’s not worked in my favour when it comes to getting in the team.
“I’ve been doing extra work to get rid of it, I’ve been getting Wednesdays off work to go training during the day, and it’s paying off for me.”
Barlow was involved in one of the pivotal moments at the LSV, slipping a one handed pass intended for the impressive full back Ryan Fieldhouse deep in golden-point extra time.
Fieldhouse couldn’t take the ball, and Leigh went on to book their place in the quarter finals with a Martyn Ridyard drop goal sealing a 19-18 win.
“My arm was free and Ryan was in a lot of space; if he’d taken it he’d have scored,” said Barlow.
“He just couldn’t get his hands on it, but there are no regrets from me.
“It’s just frustrating when we felt we could have closed the game out a lot earlier on than that.
“I think we put in a good performance against a good team, but they just took it in the end.
“It was just disappointing after controlling the game for a long time.
“There were a couple of errors in there and Leigh came back and got us.”
Bookings for the official supporters coach to Featherstone can be made by calling Neil Arber on 0771 448 8080. The cost will be £9 for adults and £5 for juniors.
Due to Halifax Town’s play off semi final travelling fans will not be able to park at the Shay