Ben Barba: Australia's NRL bans player over alleged assault

Ben Barba was the leading try-scorer in the Super League last year. Courtesy: BBC

Australia’s National Rugby League (NRL) has banned player Ben Barba from the competition after viewing footage of him in an alleged “physical altercation” with his partner.

Barba, 29, was sacked by his new club, North Queensland Cowboys, last Friday over allegations that he had struck his partner at a casino in January.

The alleged incident is also being investigated by Queensland police.

Barba has not made any comment on the allegations.

NRL chief executive Todd Greenberg said it was “time for Ben Barba to find a new vocation”.

“Where we see violence against women we’ll act in the strongest terms,” he said.

The Rugby Football League has previously said that Barba would not be allowed to play in Super League if was banned by the NRL.

The former St Helens full-back was the leading try-scorer in Super League in 2018.

In 2013, Barba was stood down indefinitely from NRL club Canterbury Bulldogs due to off-field behaviour which the club did not detail.

After failing a drugs test in 2016, Barba signed for French rugby union side Toulon in February 2017 in a controversial move that saw him escape being sanctioned because the suspension only applied to rugby league.

The full-back moved on to Saints three months later, but an independent panel upheld the decision to suspend Barba on his return to the sport and he was unable to play for them until August 2017.