NORTH Wagga’s Farrer League plans have been thrown into disarray with the sudden departure of champion midfielder Steve Barnes.
Saints coach Nathan Dowdle yesterday confirmed Barnes had parted ways with the club and is unlikely to play in the Farrer League in 2013.
The rumour mill had been running hot during the week with the news the tough onballer had joined Upper Murray League club Tumbarumba.
Dowdle said there was no ill-feeling between North Wagga and Barnes.
“He virtually told us he wanted to go and play at Tumba,” Dowdle confirmed.
“I think it was mainly the fact he doesn’t have to train as much, and he wants to spend more time with his family.
“It was going to be hard for him to train with us with his commitments to family and work.
“North Wagga is happy for him and we definitely wish him all the best.”
Barnes had been strongly linked to join a number of former Farrer League players at Tumbarumba but it is unknown whether he has officially signed yet or not.
Barnes was unable to be contacted by The Daily Advertiser yesterday.
He has been regarded as one of the toughest players in the Riverina for a number of years and coached the young Saints for the first time this year.
They made the finals under him and he signed on to coach for another season.
But North Wagga made the shock announcement last month Barnes had stepped down from the position to focus on work.
“A lot of the young fellas at the club look up to Barnesy,” Dowdle said.
“It’s unfortunate to see him leave.”
Dowdle is still in the market for a couple of key position players to add height to his relatively short squad for next season.
Meanwhile, Marrar has been quietly adding to its list as it prepares to better its preliminary final appearance this year.
Lanky ruckman Jake Robinson has joined fellow signings Andrew Higginson and coach Clint Taylor and the Bombers are still in talks with more prospective players.
CSU coach Brett Garrett said earlier this week he hoped to announce some signings within the fortnight.
FLOWN THE COOP: Tough onballer Steve Barnes has left North Wagga.
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.