Barba a Bulldog ‘Till 2015
The in-form Ben Barba, nicknamed the ‘X-Factor’ in the NRL, has re-signed with the Canterbury Bulldogs confirming he will don the Doggies’ jersey until the end of the 2015 season.
Barba signing on for a new contract is a positive sign for the troubled Dogs, who last week lost their head coach Kevin Moore while their veteran captain Andrew Ryan’s future with the club is also under a cloud of doubt.
Details of the deal that has seen Barba become the first Bulldogs player to sign through until the end of the 2015 NRL season are an upgraded contract for next season followed by a new two-year deal covering 2013-15.
“First things first, we are over the moon that Ben has committed to the Bulldogs long term,” Bulldogs Chief Executive Officer Todd Greenberg said at Canterbury’s second annual SMS Luncheon at Doltone House, Jones Bay Wharf today.
Barba has become a massive asset to Canterbury since debuting for the Sydney club in July of 2008 against reigning Premiership winners the St George Illawarra Dragons.
Having played over 45 to-grade games to date in the Dogs colours, Barba has been in blistering form during the opening 19 rounds of the 2011 NRL Telstra Premiership.
Currently the leading try-scorer in the game this season, Barba has scored 14 tries in 17 games.
Last year Barba was Canterbury’s to try-scorer with 15 four-pointers over 21 matches.
His try-scoring ability paired with his versatility on the field, Barba able to play five-eighth, halfback or fullback with equal danger, makes him one of Canterbury’s indispensables.
“He’s simply an outstanding talent and every NRL fan would acknowledge what he has meant to our team both in terms of the 2011 season and in the years since his debut,” Greenberg said.
“In addition to his football and pure athletic ability, he’s an excitement machine.
“People want to watch him in full flight, which is great for our team and for us as a club.”
Greenberg went on to praise Barba for not only his talent as an upcoming Australian sports star, but as a genuine role model that the NRL should be proud to have in its ranks.
“It’s also fitting that we were able to announce that Ben would be with us through to at least 2015 at our SMS Lunch as the event is all about recognising the good things that our players do for community causes,” Greenberg said.
“Ben is a real role model and for someone so young he has shown great maturity in recent times.
“He’s a father of two, is deeply committed to his family and also to his indigenous culture.
“We certainly look to him as a leader both on and off the field in the years to come.”
Despite Barba’s form and talent, the look-good-on-paper Dogs are in real jeopardy of missing out on the NRL September semi finals currently sitting 12th on the ladder.
They get a chance to move up the table when they play the 13th ranked Parramatta Eels at ANZ Stadium on Friday night.
While his concentration is most certainly on securing the much needed two points on offer Friday night, Barba said he was also pleased to have made an enduring commitment to his club.
“I’m very excited to confirm that I will be at the Bulldogs long term,” he said.
“It’s a pretty big step for myself and my family.
“The club has treated me well ever since I got here and I wanted to stay a Bulldog and build a career here.
“I’ve always wanted to be a leader at the Bulldogs and signing until 2015 will see me mature as a player and as a person.
“Being so young there is always room to improve and I just want to continue to learn over these next few years and ultimately keep getting better whilst playing some good football for the club.”