Brighouse Rangers’ new head coach is no stranger to the club, as former Bramley, Batley and Featherstone half back Gary Barnett is back at Brighouse Sports Club for the second time, writes Charlotte Henbest.
After leaving them over four years ago, 42-year-old Barnett spent a year at Wakefield Trinity Wildcats and then three seasons at Castleford Tigers coaching their Under 20s teams.
“Due to the restructure of the Under 20s and the league being disbanded I didn’t really know what I was going to do. Brighouse approached me and here I am,” said Barnett, whose side warmed up for the new season with a 22-22 home draw against Slaithwaite.
“It isn’t a case of unfinished business, they just really sold it to me. I didn’t really know what I was going to do after leaving Castleford, it all came to a bit of an abrupt end.
“I knew I really wanted to stay involved in the game. You get used to going out of the house on a Tuesday and Thursday evening and out at weekends.
“I went to play rugby union for a bit at my local club Bramley Phoenix, but the body is not what it was. I wasn’t sure at first that I wanted to take the job on, but they did a good job of persuading me.”
Barnett has recently completed his Level 3 coaching badge and has not hidden the fact from Rangers that if the opportunity arises to get back in to the professional game he would leap at the chance.
“It is every coaches dream to coach at the highest level and I am no exception,” he added. “I enjoyed my time at Wakefield and Castleford and learnt a lot and would like to get back in to it at some point.”
In the meantime his priorities lie with Brighouse Rangers and the new season, which kicks off this Saturday.
“Training is going well, which is something that I was not sure about after being out of the amateur game for so long.
“You get used to people attending week in week out and on time at a professional club and I admit I was a bit worried, but I have no need to be.
“The commitment shown so far is fantastic. On a bad week we might get in just over 20 players and on a good week we can have 30 at training.
“We now have a couple of friendlies under our belt and we purposely picked sides that are in a higher division.
“I am pleased to say that they have coped really well and it has helped to set the bar for the season. We have some really good Under 18’s coming through and the side has lots of strength.
“The team has set their stall out to win the league and undefeated if possible. Confidence is high and there is a positive vibe running through the club. If they keep it up and turn up every week with the same attitude, there is no reason why they can’t do it.”
Barnes issues rallying cry ahead of season opener
“Here we go”, was the rallying cry from the Brighouse Rangers coaches and players.
After an impressive pre-season, Rangers get their 2013/2014 league games up and running against Huddersfield side St Joseph’s this Saturday at Russell Way (2.30).
“The lads have worked really hard on their fitness and getting used to the new plays in preseason,” said new head coach Gary Barnett.
“We have faced two tough teams from the premiership in pre season friendlies, and I’ve been impressed with the group of lads in our squad so far. But it’s now game on, with league points up for grabs.
“St Joseph’s are an unknown quantity and having suffered two consecutive relegations will themselves want to get off to a flyer. The same goes for us.
“St Joseph’s won’t know what to expect from us as we’ve not faced each other for a few seasons.”
There is a great buzz around the place, and the teams confidence is high after last weeks draw against Slaithwaite Saracens.
“If we stick to our game plan, then there is no reason we should fear anyone in this division” said assistant coach Craig young.
Local businesses continue to support Rangers with WEBRO.COM sponsoring Mathew Dawson and Bairstow Builders sponsoring new recruit Dane Bairstow.
All the players will be kitted out in their new polo shirts and track suits on Saturday, and are all appreciative of the support this preseason.
The match day ball sponsors are the Guys At The Bar and the kit sponsors for the first team are A One Tools Ltd.
“Lets get down and support the Rangers, and make our place a fortress,” said chairman Dave Barnes.