Halifax RLFC: Barlow keen to impress

TEENAGE recruit Josh Barlow is aiming to "hit the ground running" when Halifax open their pre season programme next month.

The 19 year old back rower-turned-hooker, the younger brother of Grand Final-winning loose forward Sam, penned a one year deal with his hometown club in the autumn.

And Barlow, a former Ovenden junior, knows the club's four-game warm up programme – which kicks off at Keighley on January 2 before taking in clashes with Bradford, Batley and Hull KR – will be crucial as he looks to finally cement a breakthrough into first team football.

"I need to hit the ground running in January, it's a great chance for me," said Barlow.

"We've got a really tough programme against some tough teams and that is what I want.

"I need to show what I can do.

"We've trained really hard and I think everyone is looking forward to playing now.

"It's been easy to settle in – I knew a lot of the lads already and having Sam here obviously helped – now I just want to make the most of the opportunity."

Barlow acknowledges 2011 will be a pivotal year in his development, with the teenager finally looking to fulfil the potential that saw him sign a two-year deal with Super League champions Wigan as a 16 year old.

"I had a great chance at Wigan and I messed it up, just by being a bit naive and stupid, like young lads can be sometimes," said Barlow, who spent the early part of last year playing under the tutelage of former Fax half back Gavin Clinch in Australia before finishing the season in Huddersfield's reserves.

"I'm 20 in May and I don't want to be playing under 23s or reserves for ever.

"Australia was a big thing for me, not just for developing me as a player but also a person.

"Gavin's an intelligent coach, and there are some good players, ex-NRL players, in the Illawarra competition.

"It was Gavin who put me at hooker for the first time, so he obviously saw something that made him think I could play there.

"I enjoyed it; but I enjoy back row too. I still don't really know what my best position is going to be.

"The way I see it, the more versatile I am, the better it is for me and the rest of the squad."