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Former Man of Steel winner Ben Barba finds new club

It’s been just over five years since Ben Barba  left St Helens and having failed to find any top flight rugby, he’s now settled with a new team down under.

Barba put together an incredible 2018 season that at times saw him perform on a level Super League rarely gets to see, his electric pace and combination of skill and flair made him and St Helens must watch rugby league.

Sadly for Barba and Saints it wasn’t to be their year as they crashed out to Warrington Wolves in the play-off semi-finals, despite having lifted the League Leaders Shield.

Barba left St Helens at the end of that season bringing an end to his impressive two seasons in England, set to go link up with North Queensland Cowboys however he was released before playing a game.

Just days later the NRL banned Barba indefinitely and he’s been playing rugby league at lower levels on and off ever since, but he’s now joined Sarina, a regional side in Mackay and District area.

Barba joins alongside fellow former Super League man, Kane Linnett, the former Hull KR second-rower having reversed his retirement decision to take up an opportunity to play for the club.

Sarina president Shannon Cleary explained why he felt the club had been able to land Barba and persuade him to represent the Crocodiles.

Cleary told the Daily Telegraph: “I think just coming back home to be closer to family again really. “I know he had other offers down south, but it would’ve involved him being away from the kids again.”

“He seems to be taking on (community involvement) and being a bit of a face for the club,” the president explained.

“I’ve mentioned (his signing) to a couple of juniors that I coach and their reaction when they hear someone like that’s going to be apart of the club, they’ll definitely benefit from it as well.

“It’ll provide opportunities for Ben and more experienced players to help out (the juniors) and develop them as they continue to progress up towards seniors.”

The club will be set to compete this season given the arrival of Barba and Linnett, who had been announced by the club via a statement.

“Sarina RLFC would like to welcome Kane Linnett to the Croc family as he joins us for the 2024 Season and beyond, fulfilling the role of Captain/Coach!

“Kane brings to the club a wealth of experience, having played over 180 NRL games and over 110 games in the Super League!!! We look forward to seeing this knowledge assist with the Sarina Crocs success in the future!! Welcome to Kane and his family.”

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