Diminutive Barba set for barrage of bombs
DIMINUTIVE Canterbury fullback Ben Barba knows the high balls are heading his way and says Preston Campbell and Matt Bowen have shown the way in how to handle them.
Barba got off lightly in his first game as the Bulldogs’ full-time custodian, in Monday night’s 24-14 win over the wayward-kicking Wests Tigers.
But the 174cm whiz kid knows the honeymoon won’t last and could be over as soon as Sunday in Canterbury’s clash with South Sydney.
‘‘ I’m going to expect a lot more during the year,’’ Barba said yesterday.
‘‘ I’m not the biggest of all fullbacks but I look up to the guys like the Prestons and Matty ( Bowen) . . . they’ve done it for so long and so well.
‘‘ If I can replicate some of their efforts under the high ball then I’m happy.’’
To do so, he’s caught hundreds of bombs throughout the off-season as he’s honed the skills needed in the No. 1 jersey.
‘ ‘ Nearl y e v e r y t r a i ni ng session I’ll get the coaches to get out there and just keep sending me high balls after high balls,’’ he said.
‘‘( The toughest thing is) probably just the running, there’s a lot more running than there is at five-eighth.
‘‘ You’ve got to be on one side, then they expect you to be on the other side and then you’ve got to return the kicks.’’