The Courier-Mail

Rule change puts Barba on fast track

- CHRIS GARRY

MARMIN Barba possesses the best tryscoring strike rate in rugby league and Ipswich cocoach Ben Walker predicts the dynamic winger will thrive under the NRL’s new interchang­e rules.

Barba needs only two points to bring up 300 for the Jets against Sunshine Coast today in what will be only his 41st game for the club.

Barba has scored 48 tries in 40 games and has broken the Jets’ record this year with 26.

Barba, younger brother of Ben, has had three stints with NRL clubs Parramatta, Gold Coast and Brisbane.

All three stints did not pan out due to injury, attitude and concerns, often unfounded, about his size.

Barba is far from a heavyweigh­t at 172cm and about 80kg but the game is slowly changing back in favour of smaller, more dynamic players.

Brisbane’s NRL success with 172cm halves Ben Hunt and Anthony Milford has proved there is room for diminutive players in the NRL.

Reduction of the NRL interchang­e to eight next year and probably six in 2017 is expected to stem the reliance on large forward packs that trundle forward in predictabl­e but effective manner every game.

This weekend is the last round of the Intrust Super Cup season.

The Jets need to beat the Falcons at North Ipswich Reserve today to secure third spot in the Cup, which has moved to a top-six finals format in which the top two teams receive byes in the first week.

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