HALIFAX’S controversial forward Sam Barlow has said his focus is firmly on the field ahead of Sunday’s Co-operative Championship clash against Sheffield at Bramall Lane.
Barlow quit the South Yorkshire side last summer to return to his hometown club, but then infuriated them by playing against them in the end-of-season final eliminator – apparently in breach of an agreement he made when he negotiated his release not to face them in 2010 – prompting his former employers to threaten legal action, with their coach Mark Aston particularly outspoken.
That never materialised after Fax issued a statement saying they had been “morally wrong” to field the young back rower, although Barlow is still under investigation by the Rugby Football League for approaching Fax while he was contracted to the Eagles.
“I’m just concentrating on the game and preparing properly,” said Barlow, who scored a try as Fax eased to a comfortable win that night and went on to beat Featherstone in a compelling Grand Final at Warrington.
“Last year has been and gone, this is a new season and a new start and I am a Halifax player.
“From their point of view, I can understand they were unhappy, but I think Mark Aston is big enough and experienced enough to move on.
“I hope so, because I had two good years there and I am looking forward to playing at Bramall Lane again.
“I honestly believe Halifax would have won that game whether I had played or not. One player never makes a team.
“Personally, I would 100 per cent make the same decision again, because the team played so well that night I might not have got back in for the final if had sat it out.
“Lifting that trophy for my hometown club was an unbelievable feeling and there is no way I would give that up.”
Thoughts of this season’s Grand Final will be a long way from Fax’s mind as they prepare to head down the M1 searching for their first league win of the season at the third attempt.
But Barlow believes there were enough positives from their first half performance in the 32-20 loss to Featherstone last time out to suggest that their first victory is just around the corner.
“There were a lot of good things in that game, even though we didn’t get the result we wanted,” said Barlow, who returned to Matt Calland’s starting line up against Rovers after being dropped following the opening-day league loss in Toulouse.
“In the first half, we completed well, kicked well and our defence was awesome at times.
“That first 40 was as good as we have been for a while, but we let them off the hook in the second half.
“We’re looking to pick up three points on Sunday now.”
HALIFAX are running coaches to Sheffield, leaving the Shay at 12.30. The cost is £10 for adults and £5 for juniors. Book by ringing Neil on 07714 488080.
Bradford prop Nick Scruton has signed a new three-year contract that will keep him at the Bulls at least until the end of the 2014 Super League season.
The 27-year-old Scruton has made 59 appearances since joining Bradford from Leeds at the start of the 2009 season.
“Nick’s an important player for the club and he’ll be moving into the best part of his career,” said Bulls coach Mick Potter.
Scruton said: “There was never really a question of me going anywhere else.”