Bulldogs suspend Ben Barba, say he needs 'professional help'

AAP, Yahoo!7 Updated February 25, 2013, 2:25 pm

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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  1. Charlie12:08am Tuesday 26th February 2013 ESTReport Abuse

    Ben will get over this sickness.

  2. Stephen12:03am Tuesday 26th February 2013 ESTReport Abuse

    Its sad to hear about this illness.

  3. LOL07:17pm Monday 25th February 2013 ESTReport Abuse

    His club have come out and said he needs help. They have only mentioned a problem he has long dealt with since childhood and the break up of his longterm relationship. Stop speculation people. Good luck Ben and I hope you are able to soon get back on track.

  4. Mark07:07pm Monday 25th February 2013 ESTReport Abuse

    Funny comment from the Queensland fan up there stating "just crying roaches ", when Andrew Johns came out and said he had a drug problem all the cry from the north was we knew he was a cheat and no wonder he played so good he was on drugs , now its a pptential qld player , its all ok and leave him alone he's a great talent lol .

  5. 07:03pm Monday 25th February 2013 ESTReport Abuse

    I agree, who are the nrl superstars, they are not always the 'skippies'. And this is coming from an aussie.

  6. col c06:47pm Monday 25th February 2013 ESTReport Abuse

    "Ron" those south sea islanders you see playing sport..just remember this...a lot of them ARE aussies cos they were BORN here................

  7. Garrie06:47pm Monday 25th February 2013 ESTReport Abuse

    We all have problems. physcical,mental and others, please anyone going to abuse this person through this medium, take a look in the mirror,are you that perfect? If you think you are its time to take a REALLY good look and be honest with yourself. trust me youre not.

  8. Jean06:19pm Monday 25th February 2013 ESTReport Abuse

    Been a hugh Dogs fan, I just want to say to Benny will done for seeking help. Take you time & come back a better bigger star.

  9. Sutharsan05:57pm Monday 25th February 2013 ESTReport Abuse

    Just like Ben Cousin

    1 Reply
  10. ron05:57pm Monday 25th February 2013 ESTReport Abuse

    Well said geoff if only we could get people that have the guts to express thier opinion like you do the arl would be in better shape than it is know .come on dont leave all to this person you are all good and decent aussies come come on .let the arl nrl know .