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Barba set for NZ debut for Broncos

Ben Barba is set to make his Brisbane debut in their final trial game against the Warriors in Dunedin after the NRL club released its pre-season dates on Tuesday.
Barba set for NZ debut for Broncos
by AAP

By James MacSmith

SYDNEY, Nov 19 AAP - Ben Barba is set to make his Brisbane debut in their final trial game against the Warriors in Dunedin after the NRL club released its pre-season dates on Tuesday.

Brisbane will again play a pre-season fixture at Forsyth Barr Stadium on February 23, where more than 15,000 fans saw the Warriors triumph earlier this year in a high intensity game.

The success of the game at the new venue has drawn the Broncos back to New Zealand in 2014 and the presence of Barba is likely to ensure there will be another full house.

With Brisbane's attack lacking potency this year, Barba is a key off-season signing and the superstar fullback will be keen to put his controversial exit from Canterbury behind him as soon as he can.

Brisbane will also play trials against North Queensland, on February 8 at Redcliffe's Dolphin Oval, and Gold Coast at Kougari Oval, Wynnum on February 15.

The Titans trial falls on the same weekend as the inaugural Auckland Nines tournament, meaning neither team will field a side close to full strength.

Barba is recovering from an ankle injury suffered in the Bulldogs' season-ending first week finals loss to Newcastle and given the anticipated three-month rehabilitation period it is unlikely Broncos coach Anthony Griffin would risk his star recruit at the Nines.

However Griffin said that he wanted to field the strongest line-up possible in Dunedin meaning Barba could make his debut in Broncos colours then.

"Everyone that is available to play will be chosen for that match," Griffin said.

"That match in Dunedin will be the big final trial."


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