Barton embracing Newcastle Falcons’ high-pace philosophy

Wednesday 21 June 2023 Written by: Adam

The 25-year-old is starting his second campaign with the Kingston Park club after scoring two tries in nine outings last term, having arrived from Coventry.

“Alex Codling has come in as head coach and has already spoken about moving the ball and looking to play at a high tempo,” said Barton.

“That’s music to my ears, and exactly how I want to play the game. It suits me as a scrum-half and we’ve already started drip-feeding it into pre-season with some of the things we’ve been doing.

“It’s an exciting time to be a nine at this club, and with the talent we’ve got in the squad I think it will bring the best out of us.”

Ex-London Irish man Hugh O’Sullivan joins incumbents Sam Stuart and Ben Douglas in vying for the No.9 shirt with Barton, who is looking to build on his first season in the North East.

“I enjoyed my first year with the Falcons and everyone was really welcoming from day one,” he said as the squad embarks on its second week of summer training.

“The boys are class here, there’s a really good atmosphere and everyone just wants to take the club forward. Everything that’s gone before is in the past and it’s a fresh start for us all.

“Codders has come in as head coach with a very clear direction, and even in week two things are looking positive. There’s obviously a long way to go yet but everyone is buying into it and really knitting things together in terms of integrating the new boys with the guys who have been here for a while.

“There are a load of new faces around the place and it feels like a bit of a change-up, so there’s that element of it being a fresh start as long as using the knowledge of the people who are already the heartbeat of the club.”

Two new boys familiar to Barton are flanker Josh Bainbridge and full-back Louis Brown, both of whom he played with at Coventry.

“They’re both grown men so they can fend for themselves, but it’s great having them up here and they’ll add a lot to the group,” said the scrum-half.

“Bambi [Bainbridge] will work incredibly hard, and everyone has seen from day one that he’s a grafter. He turned up in great nick and has been flying in all the fitness tests, and that’s what you know you’re going to get from him.

“Lou [Brown] is a real attacking threat who loves to get his hands on the ball, and he loves sticking up a spiral bomb. He’ll be out there regularly after training working hard to perfect it, and both of them are knitting in well with the other lads in the group.”

Already working at a high intensity in training, Barton said: “With the way that Codders wants to play we need our nines to be incredibly fit, and it’s natural that pre-season is a big period where that groundwork goes in.

“There are going to be challenging elements within that but the lads all pull each other through, because it’s natural that you’ll excel at some things and find other parts harder. It’s exciting to be part of that process because everyone is really working together, and we’re buzzing to start firing into the season.”

Asked what the coming campaign has in store, he added: “Newcastle tend to fly a bit under the radar where people on the outside don’t necessarily put us in their top category for predictions and all the rest of it, but that’s not something that is in our thoughts.

“We’ll just continue to focus on the things we can influence, and with all of the positive changes that have been made here I believe we’re in a great position to have a good season.

“Everyone knows the threat we’ve got with guys like Mateo Carreras and Adam Radwan, but there are a load of other guys in and around it who are more than capable of making a big contribution for this club.

“It’s all about unlocking it and giving the boys the best opportunity to go out there and express themselves, and if we play without fear we can really unleash some of the lads who we’ve maybe not yet seen the best of.”

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