Berrick Barnes at training.
Berrick Barnes at training. Tweed Daily News

Barnes 'world's best'

ASSISTANT coach Damon Emtage has dubbed Reds star Berrick Barnes the world's best defensive centre, ahead of Queensland's Super 14 clash against the Chiefs at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday.

Barnes, who is tipped to retain the captaincy despite the return of skipper James Horwill from injury, has won a legion of fans with his courage, composure and ability to make the right plays.

Emtage was full of praise yesterday for the defensive talents of Barnes and backline teammates Digby Ioane and rugby league convert Mark McLinden, who will have their hands full against a Chiefs side that scored 63 points against the Blues on Saturday.

“Berrick is the key for us because he reads (the play) so well,” said Emtage.

“He tends to bring the line up when it needs to come up and he tends to bring the line across as well.

“I think he's the best defensive centre in the world.”

The Reds' forwards stood tall against the physical Sharks earlier this month but Emtage said it was the backs' turn to contain a rampant Chief's attack which ran in nine tries against the Blues to secure their third successive victory.

The Reds, who beat the Shark in their last outing in week 5, haven't recorded back-to-back wins since April 2006 when they beat South African sides the Cats and Bulls.

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