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Suspended Canterbury superstar Ben Barba has been described as "ill" by the NRL club's chief executive Todd Greenberg.
The Bulldogs stood the champion fullback down indefinitely on Monday citing behavioural issues and Greenberg said he would not be playing when the season began.
The move came just two days before the 2012 Dally M Medal winner was due to officially launch the new season and Greenberg has advised the NRL he won't be there.
"Ben Barba is ill and he needs help," said Greenberg, who added the youngster was dealing with numerous personal issues and had breached the club's code of conduct, although it was not a police matter.
Greenberg declined to detail what had happened to provoke the suspension but said the player needed "professional help" to deal with his problems and the club was doing what it could to assist him.
It has been reported that Barba recently separated from his partner Ainslie Currie, with whom he has two children.
Greenberg said there was no indication when Barba may next be seen on the football field.
"It could be six weeks, it could be six months," said Greenberg, who believed the suspension and time out of the spotlight to overcome his problems would come as a "relief" to Barba.
"Ben's at a point where I think football is the furthest thing from his mind.
"Whilst we all know the undoubted on-field attributes and abilities that Ben displays, we must always maintain our focus on the more important issues of personal development and accountability."
Barba apologised for letting down the club and his fans, but said he had come to a point where he had to face his demons head on.
"I'm incredibly sad to be stepping aside as I've been so blessed with what's happened to me over the past few years," Barba said in a statement.
"But I feel as though I would be wearing a mask if I didn't confront the matters I've been dealing with until now.
"I feel it is best to deal with these problems front on and I believe that by doing so, this will make me a better person and player in the future.
"This will be a step-by-step process for me and whilst I hope to return to football soon, I hope that through this next period, you can respect my privacy so that sooner rather than later, I can return to playing rugby league as best I can."
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