Barton reflects on first week as a Falcon
The 24-year-old is one of 13 new arrivals after signing from Coventry, and rounded off his first week on Tyneside with a brutal hill-sprint session on Newcastle’s Town Moor.
“It’s been a class week and it’s an exciting time ahead,” said the half-back, who made his professional breakthrough with London Scottish.
“All the boys and the staff couldn’t have been any more welcoming, and I’m enjoying what we’re doing.
“In some respects we’ve been eased to it, but I know things will pick up. The standard is already very high in terms of what the players are doing and the level of ability, and it’s been good to get going after so long for me personally.”
Crediting the Falcons coaches for mixing fitness with skills during their opening week, Barton said: “I enjoy the way Newcastle approach pre-season because you’ve got your standard stuff which you obviously have to do for the strength and conditioning side, but there’s lots of skill work and game awareness mixed in from day one.
“Some places just go hammer and tongs on the fitness side from the off, which can break the guys’ morale, but as a new lad here I’ve been really impressed with how well thought out everything is in terms of the schedule and the purpose behind everything we’re doing.
“It’s given me time to settle in, but the standards are still expected to be high. It’s certainly not easy, but you enjoy the hard work because you can see what it’s all leading towards.”
Barton was speaking at the culmination of a gruelling series of hill-sprints, saying: “That hill session was pretty dark – genuinely one of the worst things I’ve ever done.
“It’s one of those where it’s more about the boys all buying in, everyone suffering together and building those bonds. You don’t want to be the guy who drops out, you keep pushing each other along and you just get on with it.
“You can see the team spirit from the way the lads were all encouraging each other, and it’s great to be involved in a group like that. We’re laying the foundation for when the games come round, and luckily it’s a pretty short pre-season.”
Fixtures for the new Gallagher Premiership season are revealed on Tuesday at 11am, with season ticket memberships on sale now by [**clicking here**].