Barnes claims two Top League awards with Panasonic

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Former Wallabies back Berrick Barnes collected two awards at Monday night’s Top League awards.

Barnes, who was part of the championship-winning Panasonic Wild Knights, was named at flyhalf in the Top League’s best XV.

The 30-year-old missed much of the playoffs with injury but a strong regular season was enough for him to be recognised in the competition’s best side.

Barnes was one of seven Panasonic players to be named in the side after a dominant season, in which their worst result was a draw.

A 90.91 per cent kicking rate earned him his second gong of the evening, the Best Kicker award.

The flyhalf’s stronghold on the MVP award, which he has won for the past two seasons, was broken by teammate and captain Shota Horie.

Horie, a former Melbourne Rebels player, was recognised for a sensational season, captaining the Wild Knights to a third-straight title.

Wild Knights coach Robbie Deans paid tribute to his captain after the announcement.

“(Horie)’s superb and he’s a very good leader,” Deans told the Japan Times.

“He’s got a remarkable skill set. He could play many positions. And as a leader, he’s done a great job facilitating the group. He’s got the respect of the group.”

Meanwhile, Queensland Reds’ new fullback Arumu Goromayu was named the Top League fullback in the competition XV as well as collecting the top points scorer award for the third time.

Other Aussies featured in the awards with Mark Gerrard’s Toyota Industries Shuttles taking the Fair Play and the Andy Friend-coached Suntory winning the Best Line-out.