St Helens centre joins Championship club

Barrow Raiders have signed former St Helens centre Rio-Osayomwanbo Corkill on a 12-month deal.

The Nigeria international has joined the club following a successful trial spell.

In 2019, the former Walney Central youngster left Cumbria at the age of 16 to sign a professional deal with St Helens.

Corkill, now 20, featured for Saints’ scholarship team before progressing through their U18s and U19s sides and onto the reserves, where he scored six tries in 10 appearances in 2022.

Last season also saw him integrated into the club’s first team setup, and he made his Super League debut off the bench against Wakefield Trinity in August.

On the international stage, Corkill was called up by Nigeria ahead of the recent Middle East Africa Championship in Accra, Ghana, which forms part of the qualification process for the 2025 Rugby League World Cup.

Having originally been spotted by coaches of the national team on Instagram, Corkill featured twice for the Green Hawks as they beat Cameroon and Ghana, conceding just one try in the process.

On his move to the Raiders, Corkill said: “I was at Saints last year and it was a brilliant experience for me, so when it came to leaving it was quite tough.

“The idea of coming to Barrow and being part of what’s been built over the last few years is really exciting for me. I couldn’t let that opportunity pass me by.

“We’re all here to win and do the best we can. If that’s achieving promotion to Super League, that’s brilliant. If it’s finishing top four, that’s great too. We need to start by winning every game we can.”

Barrow Raiders head coach Paul Crarey said: “Right from the start of our journey with Barrow, our aim was always to build around and develop local talent.

“We said we would not only help develop young players but also any aspiring coaches in the area also. When Rio became available, it was a no-brainer to invite him in and have a look at him.

“Sometimes when young lads go to big clubs as juniors and maybe don’t quite make it, it’s very easy to call it quits due to the disappointment.

“Rio has turned up, trained hard and showed his enthusiasm for his local town. Everyone has been impressed with his attitude and it’s great to have him with us.”

Chairman Steve Neale said: “We are delighted to sign Rio, which aligns with our ambition of having the very best local players playing for Barrow, no matter what route they’ve come from.

“He will obviously have been used to good systems from his time at St Helens but now has the challenge of forcing himself into contention for Championship rugby.

“Everyone at the club hopes he takes the opportunity with both hands. Signing is the first step and the real hard work starts now.”

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