Trent Barrett admits drama-filled week proved ‘draining’ after upset win over Roosters

Trent Barrett has had a long week.

To be honest, he has probably had a long 18 months since taking over the Canterbury Bulldogs coaching position.

This week in particular was full of drama, after revelations that Phil Gould ‘took over’ training and gave the Bulldogs players a spray after six-straight losses.

It led to speculation about Barrett’s future and the faith that Gould has him – but whatever they did at Belmore during the week paid off.

And after a gritty Canterbury outfit still missing a host of players held on for a 16-12 win over a star-studded Sydney Roosters, Barrett admitted the build-up to the clash had been draining for him, but was proud to allow Gould to step in.

“I’m stoked for them because they work hard,” he said.

“There are things a lot of people don’t see and you try to shut out a lot of the outside noise and this week was one out of the box. You use it to your advantage when you can.


“You tap into it (Gould’s knowledge) – it was more a distraction for myself than the team. The players don’t worry about that stuff, they finish training and go have lunch together – I have been there and done that.

“We had a bit of a chuckle about it at times, but at times it is a bit of a distraction and can be draining and sometimes unwarranted. I knew it was coming and glad we got away with it and hopefully have a bit of a quiet week.

“It’s something we have been doing for a while. Why wouldn’t I get the big fella down there to give them a rev-up if we think we need it? After six losses, to keep everyone motivated it can become groundhog day a little bit.

“I’ll use a waterboy if I think it will help – I’m not too proud to ask for help and I’m be stupid not to.

“That’s one thing I have learnt, I don’t have to be the smartest person in the room all the time and I can drop the ego at times and ask for help.”

Canterbury have competed well in different periods against Penrith, South Sydney and Brisbane in recent rounds, but the win over the Roosters was perhaps their only 80-minute performance of the year.

Barrett looked extremely anxious late in the game with a few big decisions from the referees go against them, before one finally went their way as the Bunker overturned a Joseph Suaalii try with only a few minutes remaining.

“There was a fair few ones there in the last 10 minutes where I was like seriously, one of these has got to go our way soon,” he said.

“We needed them and you need them to win those types of games – tonight was the night where we finally got one at the back-end.

“We’d spoken about it a lot and we’d been good in periods, and then we seemed to concede points in short periods of time.

“We played for 80 minutes. I’ve never really been disappointed or discouraged by our team’s effort or commitment to themselves, their teammates or the club. We haven’t been able to hang on for that long and we really needed it obviously.

“You could see it’s been an ordinary week, but it’s been a good week in terms of bringing everyone together. They showed it tonight and we needed it desperately.

“We made a point of that this week and they just hung in – there’s still a lot of things we need to work on obviously, but they are a good team and they are hard to beat.”

Matt Dufty had an up-and-down night, but ultimately came up with a huge moment to set up Jayden Okunbor a second-half try, while winger Josh Addo-Carr crossed for a first-half double. 

But it was the halves combination of Matt Burton and Kyle Flanagan that left the Bulldogs coach pleased after the win. 

“I thought Matt Burton really stood up at the back-end of the game with his kicking and his 40/20 was a crucial moment in the game,” Barrett said.

“It was a good night for him and he will get a lot of confidence out of that.

“He tries that hard Kyle, he really does. He puts the hours in through the week and his efforts defensively and doing a lot of stuff people don’t notice.

“I thought they all did tonight and they had to.”

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