Former Wallaby loves the green, green grass of Lennox
FOR retired professional rugby union player, Berrick Barnes, 34, being able to play his beloved game with community club, the Lennox Head Trojans, is a fantastic upside to his ‘retirement’.
Barnes said after he tore a bicep tendon off the bone in February, he knew it signalled the end of his time in Japan for his club Ricoh Black Rams as it followed 2019’s nine month lay-off for back surgery.
Then the Trojans came calling via some joshing from his The Ball and All podcast with sports business mentor Steve Condon.
”It’s a lot of fun, originally I got roped in for a carton of beer,” he said laughing.
“But the Trojans are a great club, I’ve been associated with them before and I’m really happy to don the colours and be part of the first grade team.”
Barnes said retiring from playing elite sports had allowed him to focus on the raw enthusiasm of grassroots footy.
“You have to adjust your goalposts, I am a perfectionist,” he said.
“We have a great cross-section of guys in the first grade team aged 17 to 40.
“I need to remember that lots of them have jobs, are working all day and when they get to training they also want to have fun; as long as they want to learn and improve this works for me.”
Barnes said he hoped more youngsters would consider the game, “which accommodates all shapes and sizes.”
“One of the greatest things about this game is that is welcomes everyone,” he said.
“And I want to encourage women and girls to get involved too.”
Trojans president Kel Langfield said having someone with Barnes’ skills and approach “has lifted everyone”.
“Playing with Berrick lifts the whole team, everyone improves,” Langfield said.
“He’s a genuine person. he’s putting something back into community rugby.”
Barnes substantial cross-code football career comprised playing at five-eighth, inside centre or fullback with four teams, Queensland Reds (2006-09), NSW Waratahs (2010-13), the Wallabies in 51 Tests (2007-13) and Japan’s title-winning Panasonic Wild Knights (2013-18).