Dragons to end title drought: Barrett - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Dragons to end title drought: Barrett

By Steve Jancetic 01/10/2010 04:32:45 PM Comments (0)

On the day he was seemingly welcomed back into the St George Illawarra family, former skipper Trent Barrett claimed victory in Sunday's NRL grand final would come as a relief to Dragons past and present.

Barrett, who for so many years bore the vitriolic brunt of fans' criticism for the Dragons' finals failures, returned to the club as a guest at the joint venture's grand final luncheon in Wollongong on Friday, where he was joined by former teammates Shaun Timmins and Mark Coyne.

After two years playing with Super League club Wigan and another two at the Dragons' local rivals Cronulla, the get-together marked the now-retired Barrett's first interaction with the club he represented for the first eight years of its existence.

And while he remains a part of the Sharks furniture after vowing to lend a helping hand to new coach Shane Flanagan in 2011, it wasn't hard to see the 'red v' still held a spot deep in Barrett's heart as he embraced the joint-venture's shot at history.

Asked if he along with other former players would feel a sense of relief - after so many finals near misses - should the Dragons beat the Sydney Roosters on Sunday, Barrett said:

"I think the whole club will - it would be nice to win our first premiership as a joint venture, it's exciting times for everyone.

"They're (grand finals) not easy to make, we've been close on a number of occasions and they are hard to get into.

"The club's been pretty consistent over the last decade since we've merged, I think we only missed the semi-finals twice which is probably second only to Brisbane.

"That's not a bad achievement for a club that merged together 10 years ago."

Timmins, who played alongside Barrett in the only other St George Illawarra side to reach the grand final in 1999, said a win at ANZ Stadium would give the whole club a massive boost.

"We've been waiting for it a long time, we've been close a lot of times and just haven't got there," Timmins said.

"I think it will be a relief and just great for everyone that's been involved with it."

Asked if the week had dredged up any memories of that '99 decider, which the Dragons lost in dramatic fashion to Melbourne 20-18, Timmins said:

"Memories and I suppose a bit of envy.

"We missed out a fair few years in a row we got to the last game but couldn't get there so a lot of them deserve it - blokes like Benny Hornby and Youngy (Dean Young) have been around for a while so I'm pretty happy for them."

The Dragons remained locked away in 'Camp Bondi' on Friday, the team setting up its base in the heart of Roosters territory at the Swiss Grand Hotel.

They will wrap up preparations for Sunday's big game with a light run behind closed doors on Saturday.

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