Late last week North Queensland Cowboys confirmed that recent signing Ben Barba has been sacked by the club, the NRL outfit terminating his deal and citing an alleged assault on his partner at a Townsville casino – a move which could see the end of his rugby league career.
Despite once welcoming him to these shores after being hit with a drugs ban during his time with Cronulla Sharks, the RFL are believed to be set to back the ban imposed by the NRL meaning that the former St Helens man could find it impossible to find another club in the thirteen-man code. “I haven’t seen the footage as yet, but if it shows violence towards a woman, really there is no debate. Ben Barba will be out of the NRL immediately and I can’t see him ever returning,” NRL CEO Todd Greenberg said to the media following the news’ emergence.
If the RFL and, in turn, Super League were to support the NRL’s stance on the full-back – last year’s Man of Steel and top try scorer – it will in all likelihood leave solely European rugby union as his only option if Barba wishes to continue a rugby career. He previously plied his trade with Toulon in France before joining St Helens in May 2017 but it may well turn out that rugby union clubs take a similar view to the NRL on his future in sport.