LAST week St Peter Claver College teacher Matthew Barradeen had to front concerned mothers and fathers in dozens of parent teacher interviews.
This week, he will be instructing Darren Lockyer and his Queensland State of Origin teammates.
That’s a pretty good trade.
Barradeen has been chosen as a trainer for Queensland’s attempt to win their sixth straight State of Origin series.
The appointment is a dream come true for the physical education teacher who was forced to give up his rugby league career as a teenager when doctors found a cyst on his brain.
Barradeen was told he could never play contact sport again.
But his love for the game did not stop so he decided to focus on the off-field aspects of rugby league which led to him studying sports science and becoming a trainer.
Barradeen joins the Origin camp this morning and will immediately get to work assessing the fitness levels and requirements of the team.
The physical education teacher has been an Ipswich Jets trainer for seven years.
His specialty is working with GPS equipment to monitor the workloads of players to decide whether they are being worked enough.
Barradeen said it was his loyalty to the Jets that secured him the highly sought after position after meeting with Queensland Rugby League boss Ross Livermore.
“Ross said to me you have been loyal to the Jets and that sort of loyalty matters when it comes to Queensland,” Barradeen said.
“It’s a fantastic opportunity for me. To think I will be a part of Darren Lockyer’s final State of Origin campaign is amazing and that means a lot.
“I love the game and when I was told I couldn’t play it I was determined to stay involved and sports science is the way I can be a part of the game.”
A former Queensland Origin trainer recommended Barradeen for the Origin job.
“A friend who I have worked with a lot moved on from his role with Queensland and put my name up as someone to replace him and it all kind of took off from there,” Barradeen said.
“It took me by surprise.
“My job will be to monitor the fitness of all the boys and help with them perform at their peak.”
Ipswich Jets co-coach Ben Walker said Barradeen’s appointment was well deserved.
“He’s been part of the Jets for years and is tremendous at his job,” Walker said.
“This is a great opportunity for him and something he has worked hard for.
“He will be excellent for Queensland.”
Barradeen said there were few opportunities to become a full-time trainer for an NRL or European Super League club.
“It’s very difficult to get a job at an NRL club so an opportunity like this is great for me professionally,” he said.
“I began my sports science degree to help me get to a full-time role because that is what the NRL clubs are looking for now.”
The first State of Origin game kicks off at Suncorp Stadium on May 25.
The team for the first game will be announced today.
Norths Tigers junior and Ipswich Grammar School student Martin Kennedy, who has starred for the Sydney Roosters, is in the frame to be selected.
The Jets will also be represented in Queensland’s Origin squad with their team doctor Roy Saunders returning.
2011 State of Origin rugby league series: Qld v NSW
Game 1: May 25 (Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane)
Game 2: June 15 (ANZ Stadium, Sydney)
Game 3: July 6 (Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane)