Wet, windy Wigan key to Barrett revival - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Wet, windy Wigan key to Barrett revival

By Ian McCullough 08/07/2009 12:22:33 PM Comments (0)

The wind and rain may be as prevalent as stodgy meat pies and warm beer but, for Trent Barrett, the unlikely setting of Wigan helped resuscitate his State of Origin career.

Barrett, 31, and Brett Kimmorley, 32, will form the oldest halves pairing in the 29-year history of Origin football when the Blues attempt to stop a Queensland series whitewash at Suncorp Stadium on Wednesday.

Barrett was one of the few NSW players able to hold his head high after a strong, if controversial, performance when recalled following a four-year absence for the game two loss in Sydney.

The five-eighth says his two-year spell in the English Super League has left him better equipped for Origin, teaching him to be more relaxed on the field.

Having spent seven years playing for a star-studded but under-achieving St George Illawarra team that failed to break the club's premiership duck, Barrett said he needed some time away from the NRL to learn to love the game again.

Wigan, one of the English game's superpowers swooped to sign him in 2006, and although Barrett was unable to help the Warriors to their first grand final win since 1998, he was named the Super League Players' Player of the Year in his first season.

"I enjoyed it immensely out there at Wigan, I needed to get away and play somewhere else for a while, and it was a good two years for me and my family," Barrett told AAP.

"I was able to get away and do stuff without the constant scrutiny that sometimes you find yourself under being a rugby league player in Sydney.

"The environment over there was all about soccer and although Wigan is a rugby league town, outside of there it was good to be anonymous and enjoy visiting and seeing new places.

"Playing out there allowed me to become more relaxed when I went onto the field and allowed me play some really good footy."

Barrett admitted playing State of Origin was the furthest thing from his mind when living in the north-west of England, but said he had never given up hope of pulling on the blue jersey again.

"You sort of dream you will get another opportunity but whether you do or not is another matter," he said.

"But I probably wouldn't be back playing Origin had I not spent time in England. I definitely feel more relaxed now as a player than before I left, and maybe that's a reason why I am back in the team."

Barrett also said he was confident he would have no problems gelling with Kimmorley on the field, four years after they last played together in Origin.

"It will only take us a couple of sessions and we will be fine. I have known him for a long time and he is very easy to play with and I am looking forward to it," he said.

"Noddy has a very cool head and a lot of experience."

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