Young St Helens half-back Ellis Archer has joined Barrow Raiders ahead of the 2023 Betfred Championship season.
Born and raised in Barrow, Archer first featured for Saints’ scholarship team in 2019, before going on to play for their U19s, academy and reserves.
After four years of commuting to Merseyside to follow his professional rugby league dream, the 18-year-old’s hard work was rewarded last August when he made his Super League debut against Wakefield Trinity.
Archer will look to continue his development with the Raiders next year, as he competes for a starting shirt alongside fellow half-backs Jarrod Sammut, Ryan Johnston and Jake Carter.
He is one of a number of local products who will link up with the club in 2023, with full-back Luke Broadbent and former Saints team-mate Rio-Osayomwanbo Corkill also signing for the club ahead of the new season.
Archer becomes the second arrival of the week, with former Whitehaven winger Andrew Bulman signing a one-year deal with the club on Monday.
“I’m absolutely buzzing, to be honest. I spent most of my life coming to the games, so to now be part of the squad is a privilege,” he said.
“I’ve always said that I wanted to represent my hometown club at some point in my career.
“There are probably three half-backs ahead of me at the moment, but it’s really exciting to learn from those guys, get little tips and try to improve my game.”
Barrow Raiders chairman Steve Neale said: “We are delighted that Ellis has come on board having been released by St Helens.
“We have been monitoring his progress for some time and hope that he can take this opportunity with both hands.
“We want all the area’s best youngsters playing for Barrow, and Ellis now has the opportunity. He proved by breaking into the Saints team that he has no shortage of talent, but the challenge for him now is to prove his abilities week in, week out in Championship rugby.”
Director of rugby Andy Gaffney added: “Ellis Archer is another young local lad who has been pre-season training with us after being with St Helens as a junior.
“Still young enough for academy rugby, Ellis has shown a great attitude and willingness to learn and will continue his rugby education with us at Barrow. We all look forward to seeing his progress.”