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Ben Barba

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Ben Barba
Ben Barba.jpg
Personal information
Full name Benjamin Barba
Nickname X-Factor[1]
Born (1989-06-13) 13 June 1989 (age 26)
Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia
Height 174 cm (5 ft 9 in)[2]
Weight 90 kg (14 st 2 lb)
Playing information
Position Fullback, Five-eighth
Years Team Pld T G FG P
2008–13 Canterbury 97 72 0 0 288
2014 Brisbane Broncos 25 8 0 0 32
2015– Cronulla Sharks 19 3 0 0 12
Total 141 83 0 0 332
Years Team Pld T G FG P
2011–15 Indigenous All Stars 4 4 0 0 16
2011 Prime Minister's XIII 1 0 0 0 0
Source: [3]

Benjamin 'Ben' Barba (born 13 June 1989 in Darwin, Northern Territory)[4] is an Indigenous Australian professional rugby league footballer who currently plays for the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks of the National Rugby League. Barba won the Dally M Medal award for best player of the year in 2012 while he was at the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs.[5] Barba previously played for the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs in 2008-2013 and the Brisbane Broncos in 2014. He primary plays fullback and five-eighth.

Early years[edit]

Of Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander[citation needed] and Afghan descent,[6] at a young age, Barba and his family moved from Darwin in the Northern Territory to Mackay in Queensland. During his time in Queensland he played all of his junior rugby league for the North Devils, Mackay and attended Mackay State High School.

Playing career[edit]

Barba signed with the Bulldogs in 2007 and joined the club in the middle of the 2007 season. At his first season at Belmore, Barba played in the Jersey Flegg competition, where he scored 130 points in 11 games.[7]


In his second season at the Bulldogs in 2008, on 9 January 2008, Barba signed a 2-year contract extension with the Bulldogs keeping him at the club till the end of the 2010 season.[8] Barba played most of the season in the Toyota Cup Under 20s competition, scoring 26 tries in 27 games. Canterbury coach Steve Folkes stated that he was still too young and it would be a couple of years till he would become a first grader.[citation needed] As the season went on, Canterbury kept on losing games and were possibly going to win the wooden spoon resulting in the fans urging that Barba be put into first grade.[9] Barba made his NRL debut for the Bulldogs in Round 20, against the St. George Illawarra Dragons in the same week that Sonny Bill Williams quit the club.[10] They were heavily beaten by the St. George Illawarra Dragons 30-0 at ANZ Stadium. At the time he was called up to first-grade, Barba was working at a car wash.[11] Barba played three more games for Canterbury in 2008 but resulted in losses against the Wests Tigers at ANZ Stadium 56-4 in Round 21. A 36-12 loss in Round 22 to the other desperate team close to winning the wooden spoon, the North Queensland Cowboys, at Suncorp Stadium with Barba scoring his first ever first grade try for the club.[12] In the 2008 NRL season, Barba played four games and scored a try. In September 2008, Barba was named in the Toyota Cup Team of the Year.[13]


Barba started the 2009 season in first grade under new coach Kevin Moore. Barba played off the interchange bench in Round 1 against the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles in the Bulldogs 34-12 win at ANZ Stadium.[14] On 28 March 2009, the night after the Bulldogs Round 3 match against the Gold Coast Titans where he had his first start at five-eighth in the Bulldogs 20-12 loss at Cbus Super Stadium, Barba got into an drunken fight with Canterbury team mates Jamal Idris and Lee Te Maari at the Wentworthville pub carpark where Idris punched Barba after he shoved Te Maari against a wall.[15] After the incident Barba was dropped into NSW Cup and played for the Bankstown City Bulls until Round 18 against the New Zealand Warriors at Mt Smart Stadium. The match was a memorable one for Barba and for the club. The Bulldogs were down 14-12 with a couple of minutes to go, then the Bulldogs made a break and Barba received a pass from Ben Roberts before stepping and diving over for the winning try in the Bulldogs 18-14 win. Barba eventually played the rest of the 2009 season in reserve grade. Barba played in Canterbury's 2009 NSW Cup Grand Final Premiership 32-0 win over the Balmain Ryde Eastwood Tigers where he scored a hatrick of tries.[16] Barba finished the Bulldogs 2009 NRL season with him playing in 4 matches and scoring a try.


Barba started the 2010 NRL season as a regular first grade player. In Round 3 against the Sydney Roosters, Barba came off the interchange bench and scored a hatrick of tries in the Bulldogs 60-14 massacre win at ANZ Stadium, earning "The X-Factor" tag after his exciting performance in the match.[17][18] In Round 5 Barba scored a sensational try when halftime was approaching in the Bulldogs heartbreaking try on full-time 30-24 loss to the New Zealand Warriors at ANZ Stadium.[19] In Round 11 Barba started for the first time in the 2010 NRL season at halfback in the Bulldogs 31-16 loss against the Penrith Panthers at Penrith Stadium.[20] Barba finished the Bulldogs low performing 2010 NRL season with him playing in 21 matches and scoring 15 tries being the Bulldogs standout player.


At the beginning of the 2011 season, on 12 February 2011, Barba made his representative debut for the Indigenous All Stars in the 2011 All Stars Match where he scored his first ever representative try in the match where they lost to the NRL All Stars 28-12 at Cbus Super Stadium.[21][22] With the departure of former Canterbury and NSW Country fullback Luke Patten to English club the Salford City Reds, Barba became the Bulldogs new full-time fullback. In Round 6 Barba scored a hatrick of tries in the Bulldogs 34-14 win over the Parramatta Eels at ANZ Stadium, the second try coming with 49 seconds of the first half remaining, from a move starting in his team's own half and finishing with Barba taking a pass from Jamal Idris, jumping up and twisting the ball round to touch down just inside the in-goal area, as two Eels defenders tried to force him out into touch, his shoulder touching the corner post in the process, with the corner post no longer being part of the touch in-goal area.[23] It was announced on 20 July 2011 that Barba had signed a contract extension at the Bulldogs until the end of the 2015 season.[24][25] In Round 25 Barba scored two tries in the Bulldogs 32-22 win against the Newcastle Knights at ANZ Stadium in a thrilling second half comeback after they were trailing 22-6 at halftime and Barba scoring a try when he chased down a Jonathan Wright cross over kick which was going to go over the dead ball line then he reached out his arms and placed the ball down millimetres away from the deal ball line white strip.[26] In Round 26 with the Bulldogs just missing out of a top eight spot for the final series. Barba scored a merciual 4 tries in the Bulldogs 36-22 win against the Canberra Raiders at ANZ Stadium in retiring Bulldogs captain and second rower Andrew Ryan last ever game for the Bulldogs.[27] Barba finished the Bulldogs 2011 NRL season with him playing in 24 matches and scoring 23 tries being the 2011 NRL season equal top try scorer with South Sydney Rabbitohs winger Nathan Merritt.[28] On 14 September 2011, Barba was selected on the interchange bench in the Prime Minister's XIII squad to play against Papua New Guinea.[29]


Barba began his 2012 campaign by playing representative rugby league for the NRL Indigenous All Stars team in the 2012 All Stars match where the Indigenous Team lost to the NRL All Stars 36-28 at Cbus Super Stadium.[30] Due to his excellent form during the year and the 2011 NRL season, Barba earned himself a selection into the 25-man Queensland State of Origin squad, named as the Queensland rugby league team's 19th man in the lead up to Game II of the 2012 State of Origin series.[31] However Barba didn't make his Origin debut. In Round 16 against the Melbourne Storm at Virgin Australia Stadium in Mackay, in front his own hometown crowd, Barba set the 2012 try of the year for team mate Josh Morris. Barba fielded a Storm kick only one metre from the dead ball line, then evaded his opposition beating six defenders and ran 70 metres down field before centre kicking for Morris to score next to the posts for what was a 109-metre try.[32] On 4 September 2012, Barba was awarded the 2012 Dally M Medal.[33] In addition he won the 'Peter Frilingos Headline Moment of the Year', the Provan-Summons Medal as 'People's Choice' Player of the Year as well as being named Fullback of the Year in his exciting year for the Bulldogs with him setting up and scoring some freakish tries during the year.[34][35][36] After the Bulldogs won their first two final matches they made into the 2012 NRL Grand Final against the Melbourne Storm on 30 September 2012. Barba played at fullback and scored a try disallowed in the Bulldogs 14-4 loss.[37][38] Barba finished 2012 NRL season as the Bulldogs and the NRL's top try scorer with 22 tries in 27 matches.


On 9 February 2013, Barba played for the NRL Indigenous All Stars team in the 2013 All Stars match where he scored a first half hatrick of tries and was awarded the Preston Campbell Medal as the man of the match in the Indigenous Team 32-6 win over the NRL All Stars at Suncorp Stadium.[39] In 25 February 2013, Barba was stood down indefinitely from player duties at the Bulldogs due to behavioural issues and for breaches of the club's code of conduct as a result of his off-field behaviour.[40] Barba had numerous personal issues to resolve before being allowed to play again for the Bulldogs.[41][42] Barba returned to action for the Bulldogs in Round 4 and scored his first try of the season in their 17-12 loss to the South Sydney Rabbitohs at ANZ Stadium.[43][44] In Round 20, Barba suffered first ever first grade NRL injury causing him to require time and therapy off the field during the Bulldogs 40-12 win against the Parramatta Eels at ANZ Stadium. Barba suffered the ankle injury scoring a try.[45] On 28 August, while still on injury, Barba asked for a release from the Bulldogs due to his ambition to play for the Brisbane Broncos since he and his family are from Queensland. Barba transferred for a 3-year deal starting in February 2014.[46][47][48] This led to an ankle adjustment surgery in early December ready for the new season in early March 2014 with the Broncos.[49] Barba returned for the Bulldogs in the last regular game of the season in Round 26 against the club he signed with the Brisbane Broncos, playing off the interchange bench in the Bulldogs 16-11 loss at Suncorp Stadium.[50] Barba played last game for the Bulldogs in the Finals Week 1 match against the Newcastle Knights where in the 50th minute, Barba was stretchered off from the field due to his ankle problem in the Bulldogs season ending 22-6 loss at ANZ Stadium.[51] Barba finished his last year with the Bulldogs in the 2013 NRL season with him playing in 17 matches and scoring 10 tries.


In 14 February 2014, Barba was selected in the Broncos inaugural 2014 NRL Auckland Nines squad, putting on his Broncos jersey for the first time.[52] In Round 1 of the 2014 season, Barba made his club debut for the Broncos against his former club the Bulldogs with him assisting in a try for Dale Copley in the Broncos 18-12 win at ANZ Stadium.[53] After the match Barba was subjected to racism on Instagram from an 18-year-old Bulldogs fan and park footballer from Dapto.[54][55] In Round 3 against the Sydney Roosters, Barba played his 100th NRL career match in the Broncos last minute 30-26 loss at Suncorp Stadium.[56] In Round 7 against the Newcastle Knights, Barba scored his first try in Brisbane colours in the Broncos 32-6 win at Hunter Stadium.[57] In Round 19 against the New Zealand Warriors at Suncorp Stadium, Barba made a switch from fullback to five-eighth with some success assisting the Broncos to a 28-22 win.[58] Barba’s five-eighth switch continued for the rest of the year.[59] In Round 24 against the Newcastle Knights at Suncorp Stadium, Barba scored a hatrick of tries in the Broncos rampaging 48-6 win.[60] Barba finished the 2014 NRL season with him playing in all the Broncos 25 matches and scoring 8 tries in his only year in Brisbane. In 8 November 2014, Barba was told by Broncos incoming coach Wayne Bennett that his services weren't needed for the 2015 season and was granted permission to search for another club to sign with, the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks being the favorites to sign the Broncos unwanted fullback and five-eighth.[61]


On 11 November 2014, Barba signed a three-year contract with the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks worth $800,000 a season.[62][63]


Indigenous All Stars[edit]

Year Matches Tries Goals F/G Points
2011 1 1 0 0 8
2012 1 0 0 0 0
2013 1 3 0 0 12
Total 3 4 0 0 16

Personal life[edit]

Barba's older brother Aaron played rugby league in the Queensland Cup, setting the competition record for most tries in a season with 33 in 2003.[64] Barba has a younger brother, Marmin, who has signed to play fullback or in the halves for the Gold Coast Titans in the 2013 NRL season.

Barba has three daughters with his girlfriend Ainslie Currie: Bodhi (b. 2009), Bronte (b. 2011)[citation needed] and Blaise (b. 2014).[65]


  1. ^ Prichard, Greg (29 April 2011). "It's worked - inclusion gives X-Factor plenty of incentive". Eden Magnet. Retrieved 1 July 2011. 
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  4. ^ Keeble, Brett; Jackson, Glenn (22 April 2010). "BARBA SHOP: Knights in market for Dogs livewire". The Newcastle Herald (Fairfax Media). Retrieved 26 September 2010. 
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  6. ^ Mascord, Steve (31 August 2012). "Ben Barba: Snake Charmers, Whistles & Coconut Oil". Retrieved 27 April 2015. 
  7. ^ Glenn Jackson (9 January 2008). "The JT that won't get away: Bulldogs wrap up young gun Barba until end of 2010". League Unlimited (Faifax Digital). Retrieved 14 September 2008. [dead link]
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  11. ^ Nicolussi, Christian (25 July 2008). "Ben Barba from rags to riches". The Daily Telegraph (News Limited). Retrieved 26 September 2010. 
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  33. ^ News Limited (4 September 2012). "All the Dally M winners plus galleries". Herald Sun. Retrieved 5 September 2012. 
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  64. ^ Garry, Chris (22 September 2012). "Aaron Barba could have been anything in the NRL - now he's just Ben's brother". The Courier-Mail. Retrieved 22 September 2012. 
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