U20's  Titans V Knights
U20's Titans V Knights

Former NRL young gun dreaming big in new code

As second chances go, this one rates.

As a kid Ngangarra Barker dreamt of playing in the NRL and spent time as a junior with both the Gold Coast Titans and Knights clubs as a teenager.

A string of serious injuries, coupled with acute homesickness, conspired to end his elite league playing days prematurely.

Now four years on Barker, 22, has been given another shot at making a mark in football.

After 1300 players trialled across Australia, Barker is one of just 133 male and female athletes invited to attend a Rugby Australia First Nation sevens squad camp in Sydney this weekend.

Ngangarra Barker during a Holden Cup U20's game between the Gold Coast Titans and the Newcastle Knights back in 2016.
Ngangarra Barker during a Holden Cup U20's game between the Gold Coast Titans and the Newcastle Knights back in 2016.

The #dreamBigTime tour kicked off on March 25 in Bathurst and made its way through some of the most remote parts of Australia searching for the next faces of our Australian Sevens team.

Barker hopes to be one of them.

"My dream was to be a first grade rugby league player. But I broke my leg. Now I see this as my second chance,'' said Barker, who plays for Kurri Kurri in the Newcastle League.

"I was with the Knights and Titans under 20s but didn't play first grade.

"I moved to the Titans after I finished school but then I had a bad run with a broken leg and shoulder reconstruction.

"I also got homesick so I came home.

The Australian team prior to their match against Spain at the Rio Olympics in 2016.
The Australian team prior to their match against Spain at the Rio Olympics in 2016.

"It took me a while to get back into things after I broke my leg in 2015.

"I did loose my love of it (footy) a bit after being home sick for so long. But I'm really enjoying it now."

Barker, who works a job he loves in out-of-home indigenous care, said he is excited to try his hand at Rugby Sevens.

"I still have a love and desire to play sport," he said.

"It's a great opportunity to come back and I really like what these guys are doing.

"I still have dream of being an elite athlete. Hopefully this camp is a pathway for me."

News Corp Australia


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