Former St Helens star and current Super League Man of Steel Ben Barba has been sensationally sacked by the North Queensland Cowboys weeks before the start of the new NRL season.
The Cowboys have just released a statement stating: “When a player joins the North Queensland Cowboys he agrees to abide by the terms of the contract. After an internal investigation, it has been determined that this player has acted in contradiction to both the terms and the spirit of that agreement. Today, North Queensland Cowboys terminated the playing contract of Ben Barba due to a significant breach of the terms of his contract.”
It is believed to be due to an incident at a Casino in Townsville, with the club terminating his contract and informing the NRL’s integrity unit.
Barba was due to play in Australia for the first time in over two years for the Indigenous All Stars against the Maori All Stars a fortnight today, but he will almost certainly miss that game now.
At 29-years-old it could spell the end of his career Down Under after he was banned for a positive drugs test in 2016 whilst playing for Cronulla, where he won the 2016 Grand Final.
He had a spell in French Rugby Union before joining Saints during the 2017 Super League season, struggling to hit the ground running at first.
However, he was their star player last year as they won the League Leaders Shield, capping a fine year by being named the Steve Prescott Man of Steel.
It remains to be seen if this will alert clubs in Europe again, with Barba likely to be out in the cold for the first part of the season due to most clubs already spending their cap money.