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Barba joins Broncos after Bulldogs release

Ben Barba

Ben Barba will be a Bronco in 2014, with Canterbury releasing the unsettled Dally M winner from the final two years of his NRL contract on compassionate grounds.
Barba joins Broncos after Bulldogs release
by AAP

By Steve Jancetic

SYDNEY, Aug 28 AAP - Ben Barba will be a Bronco in 2014, with Canterbury releasing the unsettled Dally M winner from the final two years of his NRL contract on compassionate grounds.

Weeks of negotiations reached a conclusion on Wednesday with Barba signing a three-year deal with Brisbane, with the Broncos agreeing to an undisclosed compensation figure with the Bulldogs.

Barba sought a release claiming he wanted to be closer to his family, with his former partner Ainslie Currie set to relocate to Brisbane with the couple's two children.

The pair had split during a turbulent off-season for the 24-year-old, which culminated in him being stood down by the Bulldogs for the opening three rounds of the NRL season and booked into a rehabilitation clinic to help deal with a series of personal problems.

The reigning Dally M medal winner appeared to be getting his life and career back on track before revealing mid-season that his future might lie in Queensland, from where he and Currie originate.

The Bulldogs began a succession plan with reports they sounded out Josh Dugan and Jarryd Hayne about coming to the club, while it is believed disgruntled Canberra centre Blake Ferguson is also in Canterbury's sights.

But it appears Josh Morris - who has filled in admirably during Barba's stint on the sidelines with an ankle injury - could be the long-term solution in the No.1 jumper.

Brisbane's coup appears to be the first step in a revitalisation of the Broncos roster, with Raiders young gun Anthony Milford also believed to be in the club's sights.

Gold Coast and North Queensland also showed interest in Barba, but the Broncos were always odds-on favourites to secure his signature from the moment he announced he was keen to leave.

He is believed to have secured a significant pay rise as part of his move, with his Brisbane deal rumoured to be worth $500,000 a season.

The signing of Barba has left Josh Hoffman's future in limbo, with the New Zealand international having impressed in recent weeks since being reinstated to the Broncos fullback position.

The Broncos have already released halfback Peter Wallace to return to Penrith in 2014, while veteran playmaker Scott Prince this week announced he would retire at the end of the season.




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