Ben Barba

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Benjamin 'Ben' Barba (born 13 June 1989 in Darwin, Northern Territory)[1] is an Indigenous Australian professional rugby league player who plays fullback in the National Rugby League (NRL) for Brisbane team, Brisbane Broncos. In September, 2008, Barba was named in the Toyota Cup Team of the Year.[2] The previous season, playing for the Bulldogs in the Jersey Flegg competition, Barba scored 130 points in 11 games.[3] In 2009, Barba was an integral member of the Bankstown City Bulls team that won the New South Wales Cup.[4]

Barba made his NRL debut for the Bulldogs on 28 July 2008, against the St. George Illawarra Dragons. At the time he was called up to first-grade, Barba was working at a car wash.[5] It was announced on 20 July 2011 that Barba had signed a contract extension at the Bulldogs until the end of the 2015 season.[6]

Barba had a successful 2011 season[7] and scored 23 tries from 24 games. Barba's form earned him a selection into the 25-man Queensland State of Origin squad, however Barba did not make his origin debut.


Of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander descent,[8] at a young age Ben 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

He signed with the Bulldogs in 2007 and joined the Bulldogs in the middle of the 2007 season. At his first season at Belmore, he didn't play First Grade, he played the remainder of the 2007 season in the Under 21s, where he had a good first season, scoring a lot of tries. In his second season at the Bulldogs in 2008, he played most of the season in the Toyota Cup Under 20s competition. He scored 26 tries in 27 games in the to Toyota cup competition in 2008. Canterbury coach, former club player and Australian international Steve Folkes stated that he was still too young and it would be a couple of years till he would become a First Grader. As the season went on, Canterbury kept on losing games and were possibly going to cop the Wooden Spoon and the fans kept on urging that Barba be put into First Grade. He made his First Grade debut for Canterbury in Round 20 of 2008, the same week that Sonny Bill Williams quit the club,[9] where they were heavily beaten by the St. George Illawarra Dragons 30-0 at ANZ Stadium. He 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 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 in Round 22 and Round 23 in Canterbury's 52-16 loss against the Penrith Panthers at CUA Stadium. At the end of 2008, he played four games and scored 1 try.


Barba started the 2009 season in First Grade under new Coach, former Canterbury player and the son of former Great and famous CEO Peter "Bullfrog" Moore, Kevin Moore. He came on as a substitute in Round 1 in Canterbury's 34-12 win over the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles. That game was the game that Former NSW City, NSW State of Origin player and Former Lebanese and Australian International and Club Great Hazem El Masri became Australian Rugby League's top Point Scorer. Ben played the next couple of games in First Grade in Round 2 Canterbury's 28-26 win against the Penrith Panthers at CUA Stadium and Round 3 in Canterbury's 20-12 loss against the Gold Coast Titans at Skilled Stadium. Then after the loss he got into an incident with Canterbury team mate Jamal Idris. After the incident he was dropped into second grade and played many games and scored tries for the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs reserve grade side. He returned to first grade in Round 18 in Canterbury's lucky 18-14 win against the New Zealand Warriors over in Auckland. That game 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 Dogs made a break and Barba received a pass of Ben Roberts then stepped and dived over for the winning Try. Barba eventually played the rest of the 2009 season in Reserve Grade. He played in Canterbury's 2009 NSW Cup Reserve Grade Grand Final and Premiership win over the Balmain Ryde Eastwood Tigers 32-0 where he had a Magic game where he scored a Hat Trick 3 Tries. At the end of 2009 he played only 4 Games and scoring only 1 Try like in 2008.


Barba started the new decade, season 2010 in First Grade. He played in Round 1 in Canterbury's 20-16 loss against the Newcastle Knights coming on as a substitute. The next week he scored his first Try of the season in the Bulldogs 26-6 loss against that year's Premiers St. George Illawarra Dragons at WIN Stadium. The next week Barba came on as a Substitute and scored a Hat Trick 3 Tries in Canterbury's charging 60-14 massacre over the Sydney Roosters at ANZ Stadium. After that match he was given the tag "The X-Factor" and became a regular First Grader. In Round 4 he scored 1 try in Canturbury's 38-16 loss to the South Sydney Rabbitohs at ANZ Stadium. In Round 5 he scored a sensational try when halftime was approaching in Canturbury's heartbreaking try on full-time 30-24 loss to the New Zealand Warriors at ANZ Stadium. In Round 7 he scored a great Try against the Brisbane Broncos at ANZ Stadium where Canterbury won 36-18. In Round 11 he started for the first time in the season at Halfback in Canterbury's 31-16 loss against the Penrith Panthers at CUA Stadium. In Round 15 Barba came on as a substitute, he scored 2 Tries and almost won Canterbury the game in their 25-24 loss to the Gold Coast Titans at Suncorp Stadium. In Round 16 he filled in the Five-Eighth position and scored 1 try in Canterbury's 18-10 win against the Canberra Raiders at Canberra Stadium. In Round 17 he scored 2 Tries in Canterbury's 24-12 win over the Cronulla Sharks at Bluetongue Stadium in Gosford . In Round 20 he scored 1 try in Canterbury's 32-16 loss against the Parramatta Eels at ANZ Stadium in Bulldogs veteran halfback Brett Kimmorley 300th first grade game. In Round 22 he scored 1 try in Canterbury's 30-6 loss against the Newcastle Knights at Ausgrid Stadium. He scored his final try of 2010 in Round 26 when he scored his 15th Try of the season, a brilliant long run to score in Canterbury's 30-24 win over Manly at Brookvale Oval. At the end of 2010 he played 21 Games scoring 15 Tries.


At the beginning of 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 that match where they lost to the NRL All Stars 28-12. With the departure of former Canterbury and NSW Country fullback Luke Patten to English club The Salford City Reds, Barba became the Bulldogs new fullback. He played well in Canterbury's 24-14 win over the Wests Tigers in Round 1. Barba scored his first 2 tries of the season in Round 3 in Canterbury's 24-20 win over Eastern Suburbs at ANZ Stadium. In Round 6 he scored another Hat Trick 3 Tries in their 34-14 win over Great Rivals the Parramatta Eels at ANZ Stadium, the second coming with 49 seconds of the first half remaining, from a move starting in his team's own half, (which could have resulted in a try for teammate Kris Keating under the posts, had Tim Lafai passed sooner) 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. The next week in Round 7 he scored 2 tries in Canterbury's 36-24 win over South Sydney at ANZ Stadium. The 2 Tries he scored that night he dedicated those tries to his new born child. A try from a well collected offload from Corey Payne in a 20-12 loss to the Brisbane Broncos at Suncorp Stadium in Round 8. A dazzling try in Round 11 in the 20-12 loss against the Canberra Raiders at Canberra Stadium. In Round 13 he scored 1 try in Canterbury's heavy 38-4 loss to Manly at ANZ Stadium. An 85-metre try from a mistake from the Sharks with Bulldogs Prop Sam Kasiano picking up the loose ball then offloading the ball into Barba with him scoring in Canterbury's 26-10 loss against the Cronulla Sharks at ANZ Stadium. In Round 16 he scored 1 Try in Canterbury's 16-6 win over the Wests Tigers at Campbelltown Sports Stadium. In Round 18 he scored 1 try when he evaded two storm defenders to the tryline in Canterbury's 28-18 loss against the Melbourne Storm at Adelaide Oval. In Round 21 he scored his 15th Try of the season, a length of the field Try in Canterbury's 32-28 loss to the Sydney Roosters at the Sydney Football Stadium. He went on to bag a further 8 tries in 4 games which include a 70-metre try in Round 23 against the Cronulla Sharks in Canturbury's 19-12 victory at Toyota Stadium. A grubber kick ricochet try in Canterbury's 25-16 loss to the Manly Sea Eagles in Round 24 at Brookvale Oval. In Round 25 he scored two tries in Canterbury's 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 an amazing beautiful try when he chased down a Jonathan Wright cross over kick which was going to go over the dead ball line then he snaked out his arms and placed the ball down millimetres away from the white strip. In the final round of the season in Round 26 with the Bulldogs just missing out of a top eight spot in the final series. Barba scored a merciual 4 tries in Canturbury's 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. Barba scored a total of 23 tries in the year to finish equal top try scorer with South Sydney Rabbitohs Winger Nathan Merritt.


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. Barba scored his opening try of the 2012 NRL Season in the opening game in a 22-14 away win over the Penrith Panthers. His second try of the season came in Round 3 in Canterbury's 32-18 away win over the New Zealand Warriors.

Barba was named as the Queensland rugby league team's 18th man, a backup player for use in case of an injury in the lead up to Game II of the 2012 State of Origin series.

Barba was awarded the 2012 Dally M Medal.[10] 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. Barba played in all of Canterbury's 2012 Finals Series games which included a try in their win against rivals Manly in the Qualifying Final and also played in their Preliminary Final win over Souths and in their 2012 NRL Grand Final loss to the Melbourne Storm. Barba finished 2012 as the Bulldogs and the NRL's top try scorer.


In February, 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. He had numerous personal issues to resolve before being allowed to play again for the Bulldogs.[11][12] Barba returned to action for Canterbury by scoring his first try of the season in their 17-12 loss to the South Sydney Rabbitohs at ANZ Stadium. Ben Barba scored his second try of the season against the Warriors to help the Bulldogs win 24 to 16. In August, Barba's first ever first grade NRL injury causing him to require time and therapy off the field was against the Parramatta Eels in their 40-12 win at ANZ Stadium. Ben Barba scored his first try of the night which led to an ankle injury upon grounding the ball. This try resulted in his last ever try for the Bulldogs. Barba returned to the field in the last regular game of the season against the 16-11 loss to the Brisbane Broncos and went on to play the first weeks finals but never scored. His last game for the Bulldogs was the 2013 22-6 loss Week 1 finals against the Newcastle Knights where in the 50th minute, Barba was stretchered off due to his ongoing ankle problem.

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. This led to an ankle adjustment surgery in early December ready for the new season in early March 2014 with the Broncos.


In February. Barba was selected to play for the first ever Auckland Nines tournament, putting on his Broncos jersey for the first time. He scored 2 tries throughout the tournament, one try against his former club the Canterbury Bulldogs. In the first round of NRL for 2014 the Brisbane Broncos defeated the Bulldogs 18-12 with Ben assisting in a try.

Ben's first regular NRL season try for the Broncos was against the Newcastle Knights in Round 7 of the competition. The Broncos won that game 32 -6.


Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs

Year Matches Tries Goals F/G Points
2008 4 1 0 0 4
2009 4 1 0 0 4
2010 21 15 0 0 60
2011 24 23 0 0 92
2012 27 22 0 0 88
2013 17 10 0 0 28
Total 97 72 0 0 276

Brisbane Broncos

Year Matches Tries Goals F/G Points
2014 25 8 0 0 32
Total 25 8 0 0 32

Indigenous All Stars

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


  1. Keeble, Brett; Jackson, Glenn (22 April 2010). "BARBA SHOP: Knights in market for Dogs livewire". The Newcastle Herald (Fairfax Media). Retrieved 26 September 2010.
  2. James Phelps (3 September 2008). "Toyota Cup team of the year". The Herald Sun.,27074,24283799-14823,00.html. Retrieved 14 September 2008.
  3. 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. {{ safesubst:#invoke:Unsubst||$N=Dead link |date=__DATE__ |$B=[dead link] }}
  4. Gee, Steve (4 October 2009). "Ben Barba hat-trick leads Bulls to victory in NSW Cup Grand Final". The Daily Telegraph (News Limited). Retrieved 26 September 2010.
  5. Nicolussi, Christian (25 July 2008). "Ben Barba from rags to riches". The Daily Telegraph (News Limited). Retrieved 26 September 2010.
  6. "News & Video". Retrieved 11 July 2013.
  7. Bell, Cameron (3 July 2010). "Bulldogs youngster leads his team in rout of Sharks". Herald Sun. Retrieved 1 July 2011.
  8. I'm aboriginal n torres strait islander
  10. News Limited (4 September 2012). "All the Dally M winners plus galleries". Herald Sun. Retrieved 5 September 2012.

External links