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Barba's partner won't talk to NRL

In a blow to a NRL probe of Ben Barba's early-season suspension, the Dally M Medallist's partner Ainslie Currie has opted not to participate in the league's investigation.
Barba's partner won't talk to NRL
by AAP

By Laine Clark

BRISBANE, Sept 6 AAP - In a blow to a NRL probe of Ben Barba's early-season suspension, the Dally M Medallist's partner Ainslie Currie has opted not to participate in the league's investigation.

Currie's Gold Coast-based lawyer Campbell MacCallum said his client had declined to speak with the NRL integrity unit due to the potential stress it could cause on rebuilding her relationship with Barba.

But MacCallum said Currie - the mother of Barba's two children - was satisfied with how the Bulldogs had handled the superstar fullback's suspension and simply wanted closure.

The NRL investigation was launched after weekend newspaper reports of an alleged assault of a woman the day before Barba was suspended in February.

A photo was published showing blood coming from a woman's lip.

Bulldogs coach Des Hasler later confirmed Currie came to the NRL club to voice concerns regarding the star fullback earlier this year.

However, Currie has maintained she has never been the victim of domestic abuse.

Then Bulldogs CEO - and current NRL head of football - Todd Greenberg, Canterbury chairman Ray Dib and Hasler are also expected to be interviewed as part of the investigation tipped to take days rather than weeks.

But MacCallum confirmed Currie would not take part after mulling over whether to talk since receiving a request from the NRL just days ago.

He said ideally, the integrity unit wanted to interview Currie on Thursday but his client finally opted to pull the pin 24 hours later.

"I have spoken to Ainslie today and she has indicated, at this stage, she does not wish to participate in the inquiry," MacCallum told AAP.

"She has advised, though, that she is happy that she was invited to answer questions as she feels it is indicative of what she believes they are trying to do and that is to ensure her matter was handled properly.

"She reiterates she has no ill feeling toward the process as she is confident the intentions of both the NRL and the integrity unit have her interests and that of future handlings of matters involving spouses of rugby league players are being protected.

"However due to the ongoing stress upon herself and the delay it's causing to the positive resolution of her's and Ben's relationship, she will decline the offer.

"Once again, she does understand it would be a different situation altogether if she was not satisfied initially with how the issue was handled.

"However, she advises she was satisfied and she wants closure with the issue."

The NRL investigation into whether the Bulldogs covered up domestic violence allegations had been considered the biggest test of the game's integrity since the formation of the ARL Commission 18 months ago.

Greenberg - one of the game's top three officials - is continuing in his role with the NRL while the investigation takes place.




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