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Barba comfortable in the spotlight

Canterbury captain Michael Ennis has praised the maturity of gun fullback Ben Barba in dealing with his rapid rise to rugby league stardom ahead of the biggest game of his career.
Barba comfortable in the spotlight
by NRL

By James MacSmith

SYDNEY, Sept 29 AAP - Canterbury captain Michael Ennis has praised the maturity of gun fullback Ben Barba in dealing with his rapid rise to rugby league stardom ahead of the biggest game of his career.

Barba has been a revelation in his first season under coach Des Hasler, one of the leading lights in the 2012 NRL.

But with his every eye-catching performance has come a greatly boosted profile and the increased demands from fans, media and sponsors.

Ennis said he was most impressed with how the 23-year-old Barba had dealt with his rise to prominence with a level head on and off the field.

"Benny has been terrific," Ennis said ahead of Sunday's grand final against Melbourne.

"I think he has been extremely mature in his two finals performances and it's great again this week to see him not changing his routines and working hard on the training park.

"I think the off-field staff have done a tremendous job with Benny in terms of handling his commitments and so forth but his preparation has been good and I'm proud of how he has handled himself throughout the whole season."

Barba's manager Gavin Orr said his client was comfortable in the rugby league limelight.

"He hasn't let it affect him at all," Orr said.

"It's gotten bigger and bigger all year. We have been inundated with phone calls and emails about him, 80 to 100 a day. That shows how crazy it has become.

"And once his year is over we will sit down with Ben and evaluate them all.

"He understands the commercial value of a rugby league player today and it is something that he enjoys and something that he deals well with."

Orr said one possible option on the table was for Barba to release his own brand of sports clothing through manufacturing giant Nike.

"It is the evolution of the Ben Barba brand," he said.

Barba himself has continued his humble and unflappable reaction to all the attention coming his way.

"I'm enjoying the week, taking it all in and really looking forward to Sunday," he said.

"I know what Des wants of me and he always backs me up and I just want to do my best for him and the team."




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