No NRL return for Barba as he signs deal with St Helens

Ben Barba

With no likely return for this season possible for Ben Barba given the suspension he would have to serve for his prior indiscretion, the live-wire fullback has instead opted for a move to Super League side, St Helens.

Barba will join the Saints on a two-and-a-half-year deal after the club took advantage of an additional marquee exemption provision to the salary cap.

Still only 27, Barba has enjoyed his fair share of on-field success; winning the Dally M Medal in 2012 and an NRL premiership with the Cronulla Sharks in 2016.

With the need for such a player, St Helens coach Justin Holbrook praised the signing and believes Barba can and will perform for the club.

“I’ve known Ben for some time and am confident that he will add a new dimension to the Saints and is a great capture for Super League,” said Holbrook.

“He is a multi-talented and world-class rugby league player.

“Everyone in the team will benefit from him joining us and are really looking forward to his arrival. The fans also have a lot to look forward to.”

Rarely do players of Barba’s ability become available and Holbrook knew that he and the club had to jump at the chance.

“Given Ben’s abilities and reputation, his signing was extremely competitive and the Club have done exceptionally well to secure him,” Holbrook continued.

“It is not often that players of his calibre become available and the Club has pulled out all the stops to fight off competition from both rugby codes around the world.”

Spotted in the stands during St Helens clash over the Magic Weekend, speculation was rife that he would join them and Barba admits he met up with officials and players to talk about the club.

“I feel very privileged to be joining such a historic rugby league club as St.Helens,” said Barba. I was able to meet up with some of the players and key people from the Club at the Magic Weekend and know they are a great set of people. The fans also showed me just how passionate they are.

“I was able to meet up with some of the players and key people from the Club at the Magic Weekend and know they are a great set of people. The fans also showed me just how passionate they are.

The fans also showed me just how passionate they are.”

Family played a key role in Barba’s decision and the swiftness of the deal will allow he and his family to make a seamless transition to English life.

“I wanted to make an early decision so that I can get my family settled in England and kids enrolled at a school,” said Barba. I have certainly enjoyed my time in France at Toulon, but I am a rugby league player and St.Helens, especially with Justin Holbrook as head coach, have made me very comfortable with the decision.

“I have certainly enjoyed my time in France at Toulon, but I am a rugby league player and St.Helens, especially with Justin Holbrook as head coach, have made me very comfortable with the decision.

“I look forward to pulling the Saints’ jersey on and playing beside my new teammates as soon as possible.”

Currently, Barba is the subject of a 12-match ban from the NRL and the view of the RFL is that this ban also applies to playing Super League.

St Helens are expected to seek clarity on this issue.

 

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