Barrett’s personal pain a lesson for Panthers
Penrith assistant coach Trent Barrett has issued a warning to his exhilarating young Penrith side: "Don't take this grand final for granted."
And the future Bulldogs coach has also opened up on how the Panthers' amazing success this year had made him "hungry and driven" to succeed at Canterbury next season.
Despite a glittering career, Barrett couldn't win an NRL premiership and played in just one grand final - for St George Illawarra against Melbourne in 1999.
Catch Fox League's Grand Final Week coverage on Kayo. Stream all the latest news and insight right up until kick off plus halftime and full-time analysis from the Fox League commentary team. New to Kayo? Get your 14-day free trial & start streaming instantly >
"A lot of the young blokes in the Penrith team think this is normal. We have been stressing to them that they can't take this for granted," Barrett said.
"They ask me if I played in a grand final or did I win one? I played in one - I was only 21. It was the same scenario.
"I thought it would happen every year and it didn't. I'd never make another one. It's something we're trying to drill into their heads. It would be a shame not to finish this season off.
"In the back of their minds, they know it's a big game. I think they understand that and they are a pretty level-headed group. They won't need too much motivating, the occasion will motivate them.
"They just love playing footy and we're not going to stop them. We don't want them to tighten up because you have to play footy to beat Melbourne. You can't go into your shell.
"We've been willing to chance our arm through the year albeit they know when to pull back and when to go. They have found a balance. Nathan (Cleary) is playing a really calming role but he knows when the pull the trigger as well.
"We have to pick our moments and make them count because they don't give you too many. It would be a hell of an achievement if they knock off Melbourne. We just have to make sure our best day of the week is Sunday - not Friday, not Saturday. The thing we can't do is overcook them."
Barrett will start at Belmore in just 10 days time, his task to lift the batting Bulldogs from 15th place on the NRL competition table. He will also be faced with a success-starved and demanding fan base and ongoing board issues.
This year at Penrith, Barrett says, will have him ready for any challenge from 2021.
"And the things I went through at Manly, mate, are going to put me in good stead to handle what will be thrown at me now," he said.
"It's been a really enjoyable year. It's just worked. We have had pretty good synergy within the coaching staff as well.
"I have certainly picked up a lot of things along the way this year which has made my hungry for success and driven to make it work at Canterbury. I'm looking forward to it and it will be a totally different set of circumstances this time around.
"The longer you coach, the more experience you get and the different situations you get put in. You've got to keep learning from them. You cop some ups and downs along the way.
"I'm only in charge of the offence here at Penrith but I've been really happy with the progress we've made and the players have bought into everything we are doing. We just need one more win.
"This year was a real good opportunity to finetune a lot of things, particularly offensively, but to also sit back look and see some different things defensively and other things in and around the group - culture, building culture, leadership.
"It's been great to go through a finals series and then make a grand final. We just have to make sure we get it done this weekend.
"I will be forever grateful to be able to go back to Penrith and to do what we've done is already pretty special but no one will remember what we've done now - we have to go and win."
Originally published as Barrett's personal pain a lesson for Panthers