Barnes says Tah Tah to the Reds - Green and Gold Rugby
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Barnes says Tah Tah to the Reds

Barnes says Tah Tah to the Reds

It has all but been confirmed. Queensland Red and Wallaby inside back, Berrick Barnes will join the NSW Waratahs in2010.

Reports today are indicating that Barnes has informed the QRU of his decision and his formal signing with the NSWRU is imminent.

This is a dire day for Queensland Rugby.  My feelings for them have already been captured in a previous posting, but this development can only hasten the demise of the Reds and/or the QRU.

How could he go? Is there a current Reds player (if we take the liberty to include Berrick for the sake of the argument) that is more Queensland than Berrick? Is there a current Reds player who has been more verbal in the need for change at Qld rugby? Is there a Red that put his body on the line more often for his team than Berrick? My answer is no.

But how could he not move? The QRU as an organisation have been in a spiral downwards since professionalism hit way back in 1995.  The spiral seems now to be in free fall. The question is, and seems to be asked every year, when exactly is rock bottom?  Surely we are close? Or will it be when Digby announces his departure? Or when Sean Hardman opts against running around again?

Farewell to Ballymore? Or is it good riddance?

I would have thought today’s developments would only increase the chance of those things happening.

The irony for the Reds is that there have been a lot of player movement with ‘Queensland’ players this year.  Not much has been our way. Drew Mitchell is off to the Tahs too. Rocky Elsom seemingly ran screaming from the QRU into the waiting arms of the Brumbies.  Richard Brown and, apparently, James O’Connor have opted to stay in the west.  I thought things were changing? How can we not even keep the most Queensland of Queensland players?

When will people continue to just put up with this from the QRU? Watch Ben Whitaker (no longer there) cop the blame for this. How convenient.  Changes are needed at the top of the QRU, and they needed to happen pretty damn quick.

Is it possible that 2010 could be an even worse year for Queensland Rugby, and the Reds, than the shambles that we have put up with in the past?

  • Bobas

    The Tahs have money now Tahu and Tuqiri are gone, I think they’ll still have enough to add Ioane and Gasnier after Barnes.

    Which makes for an awesome backline.

  • CanadianRugby

    Wow. I went through three stages when I saw this news. I am a ‘Tahs fan. My first reaction was “Sweet, we just added a excellent player.” Second, “Where the hell is he going to play?” And third “Actually, did I want this at the price it will cost the reds?” I think as a Australia fan first and a Waratahs fan next, I would rather see him stay with Queensland. I want the reds to be good (just not better than the ‘Tahs). Don’t tell me Turniri is going to play 12, he never has been close the player Barnes is. This only hurts Australian rugby overall. (I don’t really blame Barnes for leaving, the QRU is clearly rotting somewhere).

    And where is he going to play? 12? Beale did a good job there when they finally switched him? But there is NO WAY you bench Barnes for Beale. My only guess is a backline like this:

    9 Burgess
    10 Halangau
    12 Barnes
    13 Horne
    14/11 Mitchell/Turner
    15 Beale.

    Another possibly excellent possibly terrible backline for NSW.

    By the way, for those of you still mad at the Yank for writing that terrible book, Canada recently shit-kicked the USA and secured our spot in the RWC. You’re welcome.

    • I am a tahs fan and just heard the news, I second those stages of feeling.

      I saw the backline more like this:

      9 Burgess
      10 Barnes
      11 Turner
      12 Beale
      13 Horne
      14
      15 Mitchel
      Res:
      Holmes
      Halangau
      Carter

      Obviously, I had trouble filling 14, but I think mitchel has been promised FB, so he will play there. How is Ratu coming along?

  • D

    Backline will be

    9 burgess
    10 barnes
    11/14 mitchell/turner
    12 horne
    13 Ione
    15 halangau

    • Ishmael

      I wouldn’t have thought so. Beale will start, either at 12 or 15, but probably 12. While I really feel for the Reds, I’m stoked that the Tahs look to have built a side that might just rival the Brumbies next year. It’s looking like:

      1. Robinson
      2. TPN
      3. Baxter
      4. Mumm
      5. Caldwell
      6. Mowen
      7. Waugh
      8. Palu
      9. Burgess
      10. Barnes
      11. Turner
      12. Beale
      13. Horne
      14. Ratu/Ioane/Anesi (whoever they end up signing. I’m praying for Ioane.)
      15. Mitchell

      16. Frier
      17. Kepu/Palmer
      18. Thomson? (this spot is still to be filled)
      19. ?
      20. Holmes
      21. Halangahu
      22. Carter

  • formeropenside

    As I said elsewhere, fuck.

  • Robson

    Queensland’s loss, Tahs gain, but I don’t think the Reds can really afford this and I’m not talking just about money either. On the other hand there is now an excellent opportunity for someone (maybe several people) to rage in there and make a name for themselves. Quade Cooper will have to lift his game and Ioane can come right in to 12. For QC it’s a magic opportunity to show what he is made of. If he sits down and thinks about it hard and then has a long talk to someone like Jason Little he may get a sliver of light on the subject of how to promote his game and turn his career (and Queensland’s) around.

    Have they got enough money in the coffers to bring back Chris Latham???

    Probably not.

    • Louie

      QC game would be better if he cut his hair

  • Ed

    I’m a tahs fan too, and as you all said I don’t want him at the expense that it’ll cost australian rugby.

    I reckon the silver lining might be that it’ll force some private equity into them and sort them out.

    The thing is can even private equity turn around this kinda spiral? Without some kind of salary cap in place they’re going to be destined to lose any player that begins to make a name for himself.

    Ioane is gone for sure.

    By the way wtf is the deal with signing players on 1 and 2 year contracts. How the fuck does that help anyone? We’re just going to have to go through this debacle next year all over again. It’s not good for team stability. Look at the EPL, they are signing players for 5 years and then resigning half-way through the deals.

    How can you have any stability if half your team comes of contract in the same season?

  • Cameron

    I am shocked that Barnes, the quintessential Queenslander, would turn his back on the reds. In a way, I am disappointed. I’d always thought I could hold up Berrick Barnes as an example of a player who is going to stay loyal and stick it out rather than jumping ship.

    But clearly the fault is not his. Barnes has made his feelings clear, in the press and no doubt in private, that he wants to stay at Queensland. I get the sense that the reason negotiations were so long was because barnes wanted to be satisfied about the direction before committing himself to that future. If in spite of this the QRU still can’t get their shit together then clearly the fault is entirely theirs.

    The QRU have to take this as the tough love it is. Barnes is no sell-out. I doubt his NSW contract will be worth a great deal more than his Queensland one.

    No, this is a rugby decision — and if the state of Queensland professional rugby is so bad that even Berrick Barnes can’t bear to hang around any longer, than something is seriously, seriously, wrong.

  • Another observer

    People are saying he turned his back on queensland and he wasnt satisfied with the way qld were heading, but the fact that he signed a 1-year contract screams to me that he wants to join the new Super 15 team in 2011. Were QLD unwilling to sign him for another year, while NSW were willing to give him the 1 year contract he wanted?

    Without knowing, I struggle to believe QLD offered him less than NSW, they probably just werent willing to sign him for one year – what good does that do for the future, when there is a lot of young talent unsigned (Kingi, etc) that would have missed out and signed elsewhere by keeping Barnes for one more year.

    NSW on the otherhand, signing Barnes could be the last piece of the puzzle for their backline and to a premiership – therefore, it make sense and they can afford to take one big crack at winning it next year. QLD can’t.

  • Eddo

    This is great for a number of reasons:

    Australia needs to put together some good players. The brumbies are looking good, and now the tahs are too. Forget the reds. The management there is the black spot in Australian rugby. The force, with all their troubles, including Firepower, have done twice the job of the reds. Sack the lot of them and bring on the Private Owners.

    This is a professional sport. Where players need to make the most of the brief time that they have. Berrick has made the choice we all would in his position. Good on him. At the end of the day – if he even gets to the semis with the tahs then he made the right choice. The reds with him finished at the bottom, without him they’ll still be at the bottom.

    Love ya work Bezza. Good luck in blue

  • Bob

    The bottom line is the QRU is rotten to the core. Simply put the HR practices for the entire organization are a joke. Whether you look at the HP dept (reds), marketing, community, not one position would have the best person for the job.

    The appointment of in-house coaches last time around weren’t the best choice, but from the mail I’ve gotten (not sure if confirmed) but Matt Taylor will be the new forwards coach. While Matt is a talented schoolboy coach, he is inexperienced and certainly not a set piece specialist. Barnes would know this and realize he will be behind a joke pack for the whole year.

    Most of the players I’m in contact with are very unhappy, especially with “payment” methods the Reds are trying to push on them. There is a popular opinion they are waiting for the Super 15 team to be announced and off they shoot.

    Players are also very unhappy with Lewis and the board, surely they must go now, if not including Freer.

    Qld Rugby has been dead for about 8 years now, today someone dug up the corpse and defecated on it. A truly sad day.

    Bob

    • Sam

      Sad but seemingly true.

  • piggies 7

    poor bloody reds…perhaps we should send beale up there? although the amount of missed tackles he and QC would rack up is pretty scary…

  • old chestnut

    This is very sad for QLD. It is also very sad that NSW choose to replace their lost mungos by poaching first-line players from other states rather than developing the talent in the huge pool of Sydney club rugby.

    What are the chances of Ioane saying with QLD now?

    • im a tahs fan, and to be honest i would prefer a player from nsw to be in the nsw team, having said that, if it was the other way around you wouldnt be complaining about it. barnes is quality and there franchises not rep teams now, its a good signing for a professional rugby team. we didnt poach him, he is off contract.

  • Lance Free

    I don’t begrudge him going at all. He’s been at a shit franchise since he returned to union from the Broncos. I don’t blame him. I reckon I would have done the same. In fact, I would have gone to the Brumbies and made better use of my talent. The change will be good for him – he’s obviously in a rut here…bit like Special K perhaps.

    I’m looking forward to the development of Jonno Lance and Ben Tapuai, and Luke Morahan. Ben Lucas is another who has further potential. The idea of a Turunui/Ioane centre partnership (if the latter stays) appeals as well – ball player/distributor and ball runner/stepper. Turunui was playing good rugby before his injury. I guess its the lack of depth that’s an issue.

    Let’s give the new brains trust a go and see whether they can come up with some new signings. Noddy was right with his post of some while back about the state of Queensland rugby. However, I’m not going to slit my wrists over this latest setback as the bar and expectations are set fairly low. Let’s see what they can do about it.

    • CanadianRugby

      Love it! Don’t be beaten down by the fact that your most effective player just walked away. I’m impressed by your resiliance. True, there is definately talent still on the Reds team. And the upset up the Sharks last year proved that someone in QLD rugby has fight left in them. You’ve convinced me not give up on the reds entirely. Well, maybe for next year. I’ve never been a huge Turunui fan, even when he was playing for the ‘Tahs, but he was playing well before he got hurt. And maybe QC can pick up his game. Ioane is certainly one of the most devasting runners in the Super 14, and Horwill just might be fit at the start of the season.

      Still…..could be rough season next year. It would be nice to know they could keep some of the young talent they are going to develop.

      Also, isn’t time some of the people who are losing their starting spots to the recent signings start signing on with the force or reds? Like whoever lost their spot at 6 on the Brumbies to Elsom? Maybe Adam Frier moving now that TPN has the starting spot locked up? Or whoever lost out in the Giteau signing (depending on where they decide Lealiifano should play). What about Gene Fairbanks for example? Isn’t this why we have 4 super 14 teams. Alright Fairbanks is a bad example because he probably wouldn’t start no matter which super 14 team he signed with, but he sure as hell will NEVER see the field with the brumbies. At least if he was playing for QLD or the Force he would see time off the bench maybe the occasional start. Are things so bad on those teams that players would rather sit on the sidelines for someone else?

      • James

        fairbanks is in japan.
        it’s not all doom for QLD. they’ll be back

        • Lindommer

          James, what club is Gene playing with? Can’t find him in any of my searches.

          Thanks

        • old chestnut

          I also thought Fairbanks had gone to Japan, but he is listed in the Brumbies team for 2010 (see Brumbies website).

          He’s also a Queenslander (see post below re Chapman), so the answer to CanadianRugby’s question seems to be that QLDers would rather warm the bench in Canberra than play for the Reds.

        • Lance Free

          Lindommer – Gene Fairbanks is with the Honda Heat in Japan.

          Link: http://www.honda-heat.jp/member/2009/ctb/5_gene.html

      • old chestnut

        The Brumbies no. 6 who will make way for Elsom is Mitch Chapman. Ironically he’s a Queenslander but has elected to stay on with the Brumbies. That says it all really.

    • Robson

      I’d forgotten about Turinui, he’s been off the paddock for so long. But yes he was playing some good rugby before getting hurt. In my opinion he’s a better o/s centre than Ryan Cross.

  • Patrick

    And Karmichael Hunt is going to the AFL..maybe QRU needs to poach AFL administrators..?

  • pete a

    Can’t wait till the Brumbies Tahs clash it will be a cracker

    • Tahs Brumbies final in Sydney, that’d be a cracker!

  • Lance Free

    Noddy – I see the Courier Mail have stolen your headline today!

    • Noddy

      yep saw that. In fairness, it wrote itself, as they say in the industry.

  • rsea

    What are the Reds doing to push away players? I get the feeling all the players and coaches know but no ones talking.

    I’d like to see the Reds work on making the club a place players WANT to be. Maybe we can attract back some of the talent we’ve lost over the years and mix that with strong Academy players coming through.

    I hate to say it but the Reds won’t turn the corner until they fix the internal rot thats pushing the players away

  • Noddy

    Well Freer (the CEO) has gone:

    KEN Freer today tendered his resignation as chief executive of the Queensland Rugby Union.
    Freer said he had been in discussion with the QRU board “over a number of weeks” about moving on after three years in the post.

    With rising discussion about about his position, Freer said: “Given the speculation, I was concerned that it was damaging the organisation so I think it better to announce the decision today.”

    Freer said he would stay in the role until late October to guarantee a smooth transition to his successor.

    The decision comes in the wake of Wednesday’s shock loss of key Wallaby Berrick Barnes to the NSW Waratahs.

  • Two great Aussie S14 teams are better than 4 average ones

    • Patrick

      Not a given that the Force can make the step up to great, though.

  • Bob

    Anyone else notice that the Reds are saying they didn’t everything they could and everything Barnes wanted. Barnes made it quite clear that he wanted to know the coaching structure and direction the Reds would take before signing. There still has been no official announcement on the new structure!

    While they players have been told part of it, there is still missing pieces (they still don’t have a set piece coach), but why no announcement? Is it they realize the flack they will get for the appointment?

    Anyway, if Barnes asks you to finalize the coaching structure and you haven’t/can’t , then you haven’t done everything he asked for.

  • Cameron

    Berrick Barnes will be back in a Qld jumper before the end of his career. Once the off-field chaos gets sorted, the pieces can start to come together on field. Queensland rugby’s administrator’s can’t continue this incompetence forever.

    Can they?

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The original prop in a prop's body, but thankfully I have the rugby mind of a prop as well.

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