Opinion John Barnes. The most underrated Cat?

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Pavlovs Cat

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An off season talking point to divert our attention from the meaningless batathons currently being played out on the Sydney road. As an *ahem* older Cat I can vividly recall the ill fated Blight/Ayres era and many of the brilliant players we had at the time. While history records Ablett, Couch, Hocking, Stoneham, Bairstow, Brownless and Hinkley as the star players, ruckman John Barnes appears to be unfairly overlooked.

As Summer rolls in I've already watched a few vintage Cats games where Barnes features strongly and they haven't played the 94 Prelim for awhile either. I reckon Barnesy was a whole hearted footballer who was ahead of his time with his agility around the park. A great leap and a penetrating kick, Barnes, unlike some players of the era, stood up when others didn't. For me the question must be asked, is John Barnes the most underrated Cat?
 

Commando

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An off season talking point to divert our attention from the meaningless batathons currently being played out on the Sydney road. As an *ahem* older Cat I can vividly recall the ill fated Blight/Ayres era and many of the brilliant players we had at the time. While history records Ablett, Couch, Hocking, Stoneham, Bairstow, Brownless and Hinkley as the star players, ruckman John Barnes appears to be unfairly overlooked.

As Summer rolls in I've already watched a few vintage Cats games where Barnes features strongly and they haven't played the 94 Prelim for awhile either. I reckon Barnesy was a whole hearted footballer who was ahead of his time with his agility around the park. A great leap and a penetrating kick, Barnes, unlike some players of the era, stood up when others didn't. For me the question must be asked, is John Barnes the most underrated Cat?
I reckon he got his plaudits being part of the amazing Essendon 2000 team

always felt Hinkley and Mansfield were underated off the top of my head
 

catscollector

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Not sure any were underrated to be honest. If anything, probably Neville Bruns and Robert Neal were somewhat underrated players if you want to call it that.
Touch, courageous ball magnets.

Barnes was a very good player. Top mark but not a physically imposing player. Probably fortunate to have won himself a premiership at an all time great side in Essendon of 2000.
I can think of half a dozen others who deserved a flag before he did.
 

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allrighty

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Not sure any were underrated to be honest. If anything, probably Neville Bruns and Robert Neal were somewhat underrated players if you want to call it that.
Touch, courageous ball magnets.

Barnes was a very good player. Top mark but not a physically imposing player. Probably fortunate to have won himself a premiership at an all time great side in Essendon of 2000.
I can think of half a dozen others who deserved a flag before he did.
Both Scratcher and Brunsy ripper blokes.
 

PzBlinky

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Never got to see Barnesy play live, but having watched plenty of 90s games, he's responsible for my favourite line of commentary.

1994 prelim - Archer kicks from outside 50, drops short, Barnes takes a strong mark... then instantly handballs to Bairstow, and they scrubbily get it out of the 50 before Riccardi breaks away down the wing. One of the commentators is like "Why play on?" and got the immortalised response from Drew Morphett:

"That's the way they play, Geelong... here they go!"

Anyway, Barnes was one of the few Cats I had no problems going to another team and winning a flag (well, he technically went back to the Bombers).

(Edit: Oh yeah, just watching the clip now. Forgot JB missed that uncontested mark with 5 seconds to go. Luckily it spilled to Tudor!)
 

Vdubs

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Barnes was well rated at Geelong, and starred in that 95 prelim v Tigers. But very badly beaten by Justin Madden a week later.
He was very talented, but apparently a bit undisciplined
I never regarded him as our most underrated player that I've seen.
I think that goes to Cam Mooney. (Particularly outside Geelong.)
He took on that KF role just when we needed to be straightened up.
His form in 07 was superb, and a crucial premiership player.
 
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catscollector

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Barnes was well rated at Geelong, and starred in that 95 prelim v Tigers. But very badly beaten by Justin Madden a week later.
He was very talented, but apparently a bit undisciplined
I never regarded him as our most underrated player that I've seen.
I think that goes to Cam Mooney.
He took on that KF role just when we needed to be straightened up.
His form in 07 was superb, and a crucial premiership player.
Great choice.
I remember he was a solid defender for a number of years and could also swing into the ruck. Probably the toughest player during the golden run. Every opposition player would double check to make sure the big hairy cat was not charging in and lining them up.

I also remember Corey Enright flying under the radar for a long time.
Even when he was winning the club B&F and making his 2nd or 3rd All Australian did he remain relatively unheralded. I think in a way, Nick Vlastuin is similar for Richmond. Although, Enright was a much better player as he was arguably the coolest and most composed defender we had besides Scarlett.
 

allrighty

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Barnes was well rated at Geelong, and starred in that 95 prelim v Tigers. But very badly beaten by Justin Madden a week later.
He was very talented, but apparently a bit undisciplined
I never regarded him as our most underrated player that I've seen.
I think that goes to Cam Mooney.
He took on that KF role just when we needed to be straightened up.
His form in 07 was superb, and a crucial premiership player.
Yes from inside the Club one of the girls said he was "very naughty".
 

allrighty

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Great choice.
I remember he was a solid defender for a number of years and could also swing into the ruck. Probably the toughest player during the golden run. Every opposition player would double check to make sure the big hairy cat was not charging in and lining them up.

I also remember Corey Enright flying under the radar for a long time.
Even when he was winning the club B&F and making his 2nd or 3rd All Australian did he remain relatively unheralded. I think in a way, Nick Vlastuin is similar for Richmond. Although, Enright was a much better player as he was arguably the coolest and most composed defender we had besides Scarlett.
Yes Cam Mooney another ripper bloke.

Corey Enright is one of my favourite Cats ever. But I reckon Joel Corey was almost the quintessential under-rated Cat.
 

Pavlovs Cat

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Barnes was well rated at Geelong, and starred in that 95 prelim v Tigers. But very badly beaten by Justin Madden a week later.
He was very talented, but apparently a bit undisciplined
I never regarded him as our most underrated player that I've seen.
I think that goes to Cam Mooney.
He took on that KF role just when we needed to be straightened up.
His form in 07 was superb, and a crucial premiership player.
Yeah that's a good call. I thought Mooney was crucial in the 'development' years. Whenever we had a problem, Bomber would throw Cam in there. So versatile. Opposition supporters in particular have no idea when it comes to Moons.
 

Spazz Cat

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I never seen Barnes or Mooney as under rated I did how ever see them as barometers when they played well normally Geelong played well,Tom Harley I think was under rated in a star studded outfit.
I reckon Harley pre 2007 was underrated.
Sounds weird but I reckon Scarlett pre 2007 was underrated too. People only think about him after we got good.
 

Cursed Cat

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I reckon Harley pre 2007 was underrated.
Sounds weird but I reckon Scarlett pre 2007 was underrated too. People only think about him after we got good.
watched some highlights from a game against Port in either 2003 or 04 the other night; Scarlett was just an extraordinary player, took a couple of audacious marks opposed to Tredrea; if I remember I’ll post the youtoob link after work ... by the time ‘07 rolled around he’d already been the best defender in the comp for a few years. All-time top 5 player for our club IMO.

agree with those who argue Mooney was one of our more underrated players; unfairly derided for some reason due to his AA selection in 2007, he was an absolutely key plank in the club’s golden age; his creativity in his ability to set up teammates set a standard of unselfishness
 

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Spazz Cat

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watched some highlights from a game against Port in either 2003 or 04 the other night; Scarlett was just an extraordinary player, took a couple of audacious marks opposed to Tredrea; if I remember I’ll post the youtoob link after work ... by the time ‘07 rolled around he’d already been the best defender in the comp for a few years. All-time top 5 player for our club IMO.

agree with those who argue Mooney was one of our more underrated players; unfairly derided for some reason due to his AA selection in 2007, he was an absolutely key plank in the club’s golden age; his creativity in his ability to set up teammates set a standard of unselfishness
Yeah Scarlett's one of the best players I've ever seen from any club. Particularly from around 03 - 07
Moons was great. I was thought the smalls always played better when Moons was down there. They just felt more confident or more protected IMO.
 

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Sounds weird but I reckon Scarlett pre 2007 was underrated too. People only think about him after we got good.
All-Australian full back and our Best and Fairest in 2003 when we spent the majority of the year in the bottom four (and quite a few weeks dead last), a vital part of keeping us growing and developing in the early years of the Thompson era.

Played really well in the 2003 match against the Power where we beat them by a point in a huge upset, kept Treadrea to two goals in a year he kicked 58 (the second most of his career). Takes a really nice mark at 2:32 in the video below, and he could've pinched the winning goal from Ben Graham too!

 

Spazz Cat

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All-Australian full back and our Best and Fairest in 2003 when we spent the majority of the year in the bottom four (and quite a few weeks dead last), a vital part of keeping us growing and developing in the early years of the Thompson era.

Played really well in the 2003 match against the Power where we beat them by a point in a huge upset, kept Treadrea to two goals in a year he kicked 58 (the second most of his career). Takes a really nice mark at 2:32 in the video below, and he could've pinched the winning goal from Ben Graham too!

Cheers. I enjoyed watching that.
 

Cursed Cat

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All-Australian full back and our Best and Fairest in 2003 when we spent the majority of the year in the bottom four (and quite a few weeks dead last), a vital part of keeping us growing and developing in the early years of the Thompson era.

Played really well in the 2003 match against the Power where we beat them by a point in a huge upset, kept Treadrea to two goals in a year he kicked 58 (the second most of his career). Takes a really nice mark at 2:32 in the video below, and he could've pinched the winning goal from Ben Graham too!

yep this is the one I was watching the other night Spazz Cat ...

and Sparkle if you think the Scarlett mark at 2:32 was good (and it was) then please go to 5:32 for one just as good, if not better from the Great Full Back
 

Sparkle

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and @Sparkle if you think the Scarlett mark at 2:32 was good (and it was) then please go to 5:32 for one just as good, if not better from the Great Full Back
I had forgotten about that one, but after I posted the video I watched through it again for the first time in a while and geez, what a mark they both were. He didn't have a lot of the ball in that game Scarlett but he was so important in that victory (and overall he was an incredibly important part of the side for at least ten years).
 

ATSAM

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All-Australian full back and our Best and Fairest in 2003 when we spent the majority of the year in the bottom four (and quite a few weeks dead last), a vital part of keeping us growing and developing in the early years of the Thompson era.

Played really well in the 2003 match against the Power where we beat them by a point in a huge upset, kept Treadrea to two goals in a year he kicked 58 (the second most of his career). Takes a really nice mark at 2:32 in the video below, and he could've pinched the winning goal from Ben Graham too!

Thanks for that. I remember the day well. Great to see Ben Graham. But goodness they were all so young, some hardly recognisable.
Hated Hardwick then, hate him now.
 

Geelong_Sicko

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yep this is the one I was watching the other night Spazz Cat ...

and Sparkle if you think the Scarlett mark at 2:32 was good (and it was) then please go to 5:32 for one just as good, if not better from the Great Full Back
I saw Scarlo squat down and do the 'bull horns' at the end. Funny stuff! I can't remember now, but did he do that often earlier in his career?
 

Stoney

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Barnesy was my favourite player growing up, so to me, he was never “underrated”

I always go back to that 94 prelim. 20 seconds left in the game, Colbert kicks to an unchecked John Barnes in the forward pocket and he dropped an absolute sitter...

As fate would have it, Tudor mopped up on the boundary and squared it to Gaz and the rest is history.

Sliding Doors moment: IF Barnes had’ve held that mark, he would’ve kicked after the siren to put us into the GF. If he hadve been responsible for that ending, his standing among Geelong players in the 90s would’ve received a huge boost in my opinion.

For a 193cm ruck, he was always around the top 3 in league for hitouts, and always right up there in the league for marks.

Rarely had a bad game in finals. He was close to our BOG in the 94 granny, and whilst somebody mentioned that he got beaten by Harry Madden in 95 - it was only really in the hitout department where Barnesy couldn’t leap over the big fella. Barnesy still finished with 22 disposals and 14 marks in a 10 goal loss. Even by today’s standards, that’s a good return for ruckman around the ground, and the average possessions per match were well down in the mid 90s compared to nowadays.

John Barnes’ will always be remembered as a premiership player for Essendon, but for me, I’ll remember him as an absolute gun in 1994-95.

He was never the premier ruckman in the competition, but in those 2 seasons (94 & 95) he was a top 5 ruck.Up there with Stynes, Rehn, Madden, Wynd.

Thanks for the memories Barnesy, I absolutely loved wearing the #6 on my guernsey for many years.

Shame Spriggsy never kicked on, I wouldn’t have had to change my number haha.
 

Live in hope

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Barnesy was my favourite player growing up, so to me, he was never “underrated”

I always go back to that 94 prelim. 20 seconds left in the game, Colbert kicks to an unchecked John Barnes in the forward pocket and he dropped an absolute sitter...

As fate would have it, Tudor mopped up on the boundary and squared it to Gaz and the rest is history.

Sliding Doors moment: IF Barnes had’ve held that mark, he would’ve kicked after the siren to put us into the GF. If he hadve been responsible for that ending, his standing among Geelong players in the 90s would’ve received a huge boost in my opinion.

For a 193cm ruck, he was always around the top 3 in league for hitouts, and always right up there in the league for marks.

Rarely had a bad game in finals. He was close to our BOG in the 94 granny, and whilst somebody mentioned that he got beaten by Harry Madden in 95 - it was only really in the hitout department where Barnesy couldn’t leap over the big fella. Barnesy still finished with 22 disposals and 14 marks in a 10 goal loss. Even by today’s standards, that’s a good return for ruckman around the ground, and the average possessions per match were well down in the mid 90s compared to nowadays.

John Barnes’ will always be remembered as a premiership player for Essendon, but for me, I’ll remember him as an absolute gun in 1994-95.

He was never the premier ruckman in the competition, but in those 2 seasons (94 & 95) he was a top 5 ruck.Up there with Stynes, Rehn, Madden, Wynd.

Thanks for the memories Barnesy, I absolutely loved wearing the #6 on my guernsey for many years.

Shame Spriggsy never kicked on, I wouldn’t have had to change my number haha.
Good posting a worthy thread. John was a great player in this time with us - I think he came to us as an inconsistent/raw CHF/relief ruck at Essendon and was immediately effective as first ruck. Fantastic leap, deft ruck work, good contested/ high marker, nice long kick - complete package and played way above his height. Given that he ‘partied hard’ - he could have been an amazing player in today’s disciplined standards.

Interesting to see his stats for the horror show that was the 95GF (0nly good thing with that game was that I was in London and once I switched it off the cable I didn't have to see anything about it in any local TV or newspaper). Must say a particular low point (in many) in that accursed game was when Greg Williams out marked Barnes in a one on one and then kicked a 45m goal.

Despite the odd bad moment Barnes was great to watch and certainly an important part of a damn good (but slightly unlucky) team.
 
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jim boy

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Barnes was a very good player, but not quite at the elite level. Looked to him to compete rather than dominate, and he was always competitive. At that time in our history we never seemed to be short of good ruckmen. Wish that was the case now :(
 

catscollector

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Barnes was a very good player, but not quite at the elite level. Looked to him to compete rather than dominate, and he was always competitive. At that time in our history we never seemed to be short of good ruckmen. Wish that was the case now :(
They were always injury riddled.
Bourke was shocking when it came to injuries and Flanagan was also.

We really lacked a dominant big man when Barnes was up and about during the mid 90's. Was always Handley or Stoneham as back up rucks.
Was great when Steven King finally came around. At one point in time there, he was the number 1 ruckman in the game. Quite a brilliant ruckman before he too suffered on-going injuries.
 
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