Will Ben become the ‘Barba of Red Hill’?

READING between the lines, the recent revelations of Ben Barba in Rugby League Week magazine appears extremely convenient - for all parties involved.

The trials and tribulations of this talented but troubled young man dealing with his demons earlier in the year have been well documented. And even though he is back playing footy, his on-field body language sometimes indicates his mind is not where it needs to be.

Barba acknowledged in the RLW interview that if his partner was to take their two children north, he would almost certainly have to shadow them. Word is that Ainslie Currie, the mother of his two little girls, wants to relocate to the Gold Coast to be near family.

If Barba follows, obviously he will need to find a new club. The Titans have said they are not in the market for the reigning Dally M medalist with coach John Cartwright dismissing the suggestion with an emphatic "we won't be signing Ben Barba".

So that leaves the Broncos, who have denied all year they have been in discussion with Barba, as the only option. Blind Freddie can see they need a major injection of attacking spark, particularly as the loss of Corey Norman will leave a sizeable void.

But where does his present club sit in this conundrum? While Barba still has two years to run on his contract, the vibes emanating from Bulldogs headquarters are that he can leave with their blessing.

Skipper Michael Ennis says that while it would be very disappointing for the 'Dogs to lose the brilliant fullback, as a father of three young boys he totally understands the predicament. And CEO Todd Greenberg even praised Barba, saying it spoke volumes that considering where his head space is, his family was so important to him.

But how do the Bulldogs gain from this seemingly-convenient scenario?

Well, for quite some time now, rumours have linked the 'Dogs to Israel Folau and a return to rugby league, but they have salary cap issues. How expedient then if Barba heads north in 2014 and big Izzy - after yet another sojourn in yet another sport - slips straight in to the Belmore kennel.

He has never previously played fullback at the elite level of rugby league, but Folau made a fist of that position with the Waratahs in Super Rugby this year. And the indisputable success of Greg Inglis in the No.1 jersey at Souths over the past two seasons would seemingly rubber stamp a move for the star of Saturday night's Test against the Lions.

While most of the above speculation might be based on hearsay, the revolving door should be watched with interest.

Topics:  ben barba opinion red hill tony durkin

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