The Vodafone Warriors have added more power and experience to their pack for 2023 and beyond by securing Newcastle back rower Mitchell Barnett on a three-year contract from next season.
The 27-year-old Barnett joins fellow second rower Marata Niukore (Parramatta), centre Dylan Walker (Manly Warringah) and halfback Luke Metcalf (Cronulla Sutherland) as the club’s major acquisitions so far for 2023.
Now in his eighth season with 117 appearances to his name, Barnett has been a mainstay of the Newcastle pack since 2016.
“We couldn’t be happier to have a player of Mitch’s proven ability on board from next year,” said Vodafone Warriors general manager football Craig Hodges.
“He has been on our target list for some time as we look to boost our pack. He brings a level of intensity and passion which is going to be a real asset for us.”
Vodafone Warriors head coach Nathan Brown has had a close association with Barnett from their time at the Knights, signing the second rower midway through his first season with the club in 2016.
The Warriors impressed me on and off the field which made my decision easierMitchell Barnett Vodafone Warriors signing
“The Warriors presented me with an opportunity to further my game,” said Barnett.
“I have personal goals of playing representative football and I am also looking forward to working with Brownie again.
“The Warriors impressed me on and off the field which made my decision easier.”
Brown brought Barnett back to Newcastle in June in 2016 where he immediately made his debut for the club in a loss to the Vodafone Warriors.
Across his 115 matches for the Knights, he has averaged 104 metres and 33 tackles a game.
“Once we were given permission to negotiate with Mitch five weeks ago, we couldn’t wait to get him across the line,” said Vodafone Warriors CEO Cameron George.
“It’s exciting for our future knowing we have not only Mitch but also Dylan Walker, Marata Niukore and Luke Metcalf coming on board from next year. They’re adding quality depth to further strengthen our squad.”
Barnett initially played for the Knights in the lower grades before joining Canberra in 2013 where he played for the club’s under-20 side before making his NRL debut late in the 2015 season.
Predominantly playing for the Raiders’ feeder club the Mount Pritchard Mounties, he was named the New South Wales Cup player of the year in 2015.
|Date of birth||April 15, 1994|
|Junior club||Wingham Tigers|
|Current club||Newcastle (2016-2022)|
|Previous clubs||Canberra (2015)|
|NRL debut||Newcastle v Wests Tigers, GIO Stadium, Canberra, August 10, 2015 (Rd 22)|
|NRL career||117 appearances (2015-2022)|
|Canberra: 2 appearances (2015)|
|Newcastle: 115 appearances (2016-2022)|
|NRL points||112 (20 tries, 16 goals)|