The last time Berrick Barnes remembers being on Eagle St Pier, it was at local hotspot Friday’s back in his Queensland Reds days.
This weekend he’ll be back in very familiar territory, running out at Suncorp Stadium in Panasonic colours at the Brisbane Tens.
Barnes has some kind of idea of what it’s like to be the enemy at the Milton cauldron, having played against the Reds for the Waratahs, but he admitted it’s going to be another different experience.
“I wasn’t anticipating it, that’s the strange things of rugby,” he said.
“It’s a fantastic game because it’s worldwide and I didn’t ever think I’d be playing in Japan, to be honest.
“I’ve done four years there now and thoroughly enjoying it.To be playing in Panasonic colours will be different but it’ll be good fun.”
Brisbane has extra significance for Barnes, but it’s also a destination marked on the calendar by many of his teammates, though they might not be fully prepared for the sweltering conditions predicted to hit the South East this weekend.
“I know all the Japanese boys, their favourite destination to travel to in Super Rugby - mine was Cape Town - theirs is Brisbane,” he said.
“I think we’re all looking forward to the sun - it’s been minus 2 over there.” - Berrick Barnes
Barnes has already earmarked Chris Latham as a potential threat in opposition for the Wild Knights, with the Wallabies legend a Reds wildcard.
“It’s great for Latho, Bernie Larkham, Lote (Tuqiri), for the fans to see that,’ he said.
“Speaking to Latho in Japan, he’s been training pretty hard for this, so I’d be expecting him to go pretty well this weekend.”
Barnes’ Wild Knights have been one of the most successful Top League teams in recent years and was boosted by the addition of Wallabies flanker David Pocock, ahead of his rugby sabbatical.
“It was good to have Poey. We’ll have him for a full season this year but we had him for five or six games last year,” he said.
“George Smith’s team got the better of us in the final.
“It was a great game of footy and those two were probably best on ground. It was fantastic having him and I think he really enjoyed his time up there.
“He’s off to Zimbabwe to do a few things with a few causes he’s interested in and good to have him refreshed.”
The Brisbane Tens kicks off on Saturday February 11, with the Wild Knights taking on the Chiefs, the Rebels and the Waratahs.