BIG TEST: Grafton five-eighth Adam Smidt will line up against former Wallaby and Lennox Head playmaker Berrick Barnes at the Hay Street Rugby Fields on Saturday.
BIG TEST: Grafton five-eighth Adam Smidt will line up against former Wallaby and Lennox Head playmaker Berrick Barnes at the Hay Street Rugby Fields on Saturday.

Redmen fly-half goes toe to toe with former Wallaby

THIS time last year Adam Smidt was running out in front of a home crowd in his 100th game for the Grafton Redmen against the Lennox Head Trojans.

The game failed to provide a fairytale ending for Smidt, with Grafton suffering a narrow 45-37 defeat at the hands of the visitors.

For the 27-year-old fly-half, it will be a case of deja vu on Saturday when Lennox, headed by former Wallaby Berrick Barnes, aim for their third win of 2020 against a Redmen side desperate to get their season back on track.

12. Berrick Barnes makes a break. The Australian Wallabies played the Italian rugby team at the Canberra Stadium.
12. Berrick Barnes makes a break. The Australian Wallabies played the Italian rugby team at the Canberra Stadium.

One thing in Grafton’s favour is they will be back on home soil in front of a fiercely patriotic home crowd.

Smidt is a laid-back individual in day-to-day life, but is all business on the field.

A competitive, and sometimes annoying character, the Grafton playmaker is from the old school and loves nothing better than an on-field scrap.

With Redmen captain Kyle Hancock moving to his preferred position at fullback, Smidt has slotted into the all-important pivot role.

COMPETITOR: Grafton Redmen five-eighth Adam Smidt never gives an inch on the field and doesn't mind a bit of niggle against opposition sides.
COMPETITOR: Grafton Redmen five-eighth Adam Smidt never gives an inch on the field and doesn't mind a bit of niggle against opposition sides.

When asked about his prospects against a 51-test Wallaby fly-half, Smidt said he was looking forward to the challenge.

“It will be pretty special playing against a former Wallaby in Berrick Barnes,” he said.

“It will also be a good challenge. I’ve come up against a few good five-eighths in my time like Ben Damen and Jake McIntyre who seem to have so much time in attack.

“But to me it’s also just another footy game and my job is to get our team around the paddock and try and control the game.”

Grafton has been guilty of leaking far too many points this season, which is something Smidt says he is well aware of.

“Our defence has been a concern this season. It’s difficult not having the same backline each week and a few of the guys are still learning the game,” Smidt added.

“We need to keep our defensive structures in place and our line speed has to spot on to disrupt their attack.”

NEW RECRUIT: Former Rugby Union professional Berrick Barnes said he's thrilled be playing with his beloved local team the Lennox Head Trojans. Photo: to John Bungate – Lennox Head Rugby Club
NEW RECRUIT: Former Rugby Union professional Berrick Barnes said he's thrilled be playing with his beloved local team the Lennox Head Trojans. Photo: to John Bungate – Lennox Head Rugby Club

Barnes, along with former NSW Country centre Sam Stewart, have provided plenty of spark and experience to a Trojans side who have staked their claim as true premiership contenders.

If the home side is to cause a boilover they will need to make their first-up tackles count and win the contest at the breakdown.

Anything is possible as witnessed in last year’s away game against Lennox when Grafton produced a stunning 27-19 victory.



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