Reds coach set to throw Rookie in at Super 14 deep end



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Reds Coach Jeff Miller has seen enough of rugby league convert Berrick Barnes to throw him in at the deep end at No.10 for the Reds’ Super 14 opener against the NSW Waratahs next month.

Miller’s other option at 10 are Elton Flatley and Julian Huxley but Miller will examine all his positional options under match conditions in a pre-season trial against the Auckland Blues at Ballymore on Saturday night.

Miller said 19-year-old Barnes, since his switch to union, had quickly settled into his new surrounds and was displaying the confidence needed to take on such a difficult role so soon.

“He’s fitted in really well with the guys, in fact he’s out there bossing some of them around which is pleasing to see,” Miller said.

“He showed (on tour) in Argentina (late last year) that with a little more work and a few more games under his belt to adjust to the two different defensive lines (league and union) that he could be very good.

“I’ve got no qualms about throwing him in.”

Wallaby Flatley will start his 10th year with the Reds this year realises that keeping Barnes out of the 10 jersey will not be easy. “He’s a good bloke first and foremost and very keen to learn,” said Flatley “He’s come here (from league) prepared to listen and learn.

“You have to like his enthusiasm and he certainly doesn’t lack confidence. He communicates very well for a young guy and he’s got a very big future.”

Commenting on his own future Flatley said, “Physically I’m in the best shape I’ve been in for four or five years.” He has suffered

Flatley has suffered seven concussions in for seasons and says, “I can’t think about what if I get another head knock, that’s when I will get hurt.”

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