20 minutes to win finals: Trent Barrett

Trent BarrettFormer St George Illawarra captain Trent Barrett believes the Dragons’ chances of breaking their title drought this year could be defined in just 20 minutes.Barrett yesterday said an impressive start to their qualifying final in four weeks’ time would be all the competition leaders needed to bury their past demons.The 32-year-old knows the heartache better than most. Full coverage of the Dragons He still can’t bring himself to watch the 1999 grand final and admits he took the shattering 2005 and ’06 preliminary final losses to heart.Now captain of the Sharks, who are out of the finals race, Barrett will retire at the end of the season and realises that a premiership will forever elude him.But after St George Illawarra’s disastrous 2009 finals campaign, Barrett has watched his former club closely this year and believes its time has finally arrived.”I don’t think there’s a major problem or a psychological problem for them,” he said.”It’s just how the cards have been dealt a bit in the last few years.”I think if St George Illawarra can get off to a good start in one of their semi-finals, they’ll gain some confidence and realise it’s just another game.”The stakes are a bit higher and the intensity is higher, but if they can go on and put a score on in the first week of the semi-finals that will give them a helluva lot of confidence.”In an exclusive interview, Barrett reflects on his career – missing out on that title, his early years with the Steelers, State of Origin, leaving the Dragons, his time in England and with the Sharks, as well as the future, in tomorrow’s edition of the Illawarra Mercury.Barrett’s decorated career will come to a close at Penrith’s CUA Stadium on September 4, having made his debut against the Panthers for the Illawarra Steelers on August 25, 1996.And while his immediate focus is producing victories in Cronulla’s remaining games, Barrett will be cheering the Dragons during their finals campaign.He declared top form was yet to come for Wayne Bennett’s men.”All the signs are there, they look a bit healthier than they did this time last year,” he said.”They had a lot of blokes in the team who had never played in semi-finals before, so they’re going to have learned a helluva lot from that.”Watching them [beat Manly 32-10] I thought they were pretty good.”They get criticised for being a bit boring at times, but who cares?”If you’re going to win, who cares how you win.”Barrett said the key to the Dragons’ title success would be a dominant performance by their forward pack.”It will be won on the back of their forward pack and [NSW prop Michael] Weyman and all their young blokes are going pretty well, and Benny Creagh is starting to find some form again,” he said.”[Captain] Benny Hornby being back is pretty important to them, he gives them a lot of composure and he’s leading them really well.”
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