Joffa Cunningham was the subject of Mike Sheehan’s Open Mike on September 15th, 2020. In a wide ranging conversation he spoke about his time at Moorabbin. An at times candid Cunningham lifted the lid on a number of contentious moments that could have seen him leave the Saints if not for the loyalty he felt for the club and his team mates. One particular team mate was of particular interest for Sheehan, and Cunningham had no reservations in sharing his thoughts on the one and only Trevor Barker.
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“Now we talked earlier about Barks. I want to talk to you about Trevor Barker,” said Sheehan. “Everyone loved him. Men and women, particularly women. I can say this, this is trying to be clever but it also got poignant, if only we could turn back time. You know, he was a brilliant player and a brilliant bloke wasn’t he?” he asked Cunningham.
“All of the above Mike,” Joffa enthusiastically replied. “I can’t praise Barks enough for the fella he was. As a footballer he was a brilliant footballer. Probably the best, pound for pound, tackler I’ve ever seen play the game. No one ever got past him. He was flamboyant, he could take high marks, he could do everything,” he said.
As full of praise as he was for Barker’s on-field deeds, Cunningham was equally effusive for his welcoming nature off it. “When Ballarat blokes came to the club, he was one guy from the city who introduced himself to you. Made sure you knew him and introduced other players, said ‘g’day’ and all that,” he said.
Cunningham also remembered that Barker’s other off-field talents also had their benefits for his team mates. “Women loved him,” he told Sheehan. “He was good to hang around with because you knew there was always going to be plenty of beautiful girls hanging around him,” he joked.
“Just a sensational bloke he was,” Cunningham said of his old friend.