Sharks’ star Barba fails drugs test
Cronulla Sharks star fullback Ben Barba has failed a drugs test, the club said yesterday as it released him from his contract to seek treatment overseas. The National Rugby League champions said the player needed to deal with “some significant personal issues”, confirming the positive test in a statement. It did not detail what drugs were involved but the Sydney Daily Telegraph reported that he took cocaine just days after the Sharks beat Melbourne Storm to finally end their 49-year NRL title drought last month. “I know and accept I need to take some time away from the game to deal with some personal issues,” said Barba. “I am accountable for myself and my actions and if I don’t address them now I will certainly ruin my career and more importantly my life and that of my family. “I hope to return to the game at some stage and am very grateful for the support of the Cronulla Sharks and I hope that one day I can again play beside this terrific bunch of guys.”
It is not the first time he has courted trouble, having been suspended by former club Canterbury Bulldogs in 2013 over “behavioural issues”, reportedly involving gambling and anger problems.
Sharks chief executive Lyall Gorman said the club felt it was “absolutely necessary” to part ways with Barba, who had a stellar season. “While Ben will be a major loss to our football club, the far greater priority is for him to focus on his longterm future away from football,” he said.
“We will continue to support Ben throughout that process in any way we can.” —AFP