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Hasler won't make call on Barba release

Ben Barba

Canterbury coach Des Hasler says the decision would be out his hands should fullback Ben Barba request a release from the NRL club.
Hasler won't make call on Barba release
by AAP

By Steve Jancetic

SYDNEY, July 23 AAP - Canterbury coach Des Hasler says the decision would be out his hands should fullback Ben Barba request a release from the NRL club.

Hasler said Barba's welfare was his only concern as the reigning Dally M medallist continues to deal with a multitude of off-field issues - one of which is the breakdown of his relationship with the mother of his two children.

Barba admitted last month that he would find it difficult to be away from his kids, with some speculation that his ex-partner Ainslie Currie could return to Queensland to be closer to family.

The star fullback raised the possibility of requesting a release to link-up with a Queensland-based NRL club, admitting the club was fully aware of his predicament.

Hasler admitted the situation regarding Barba was a week-to-week proposition, but confirmed that despite talks the 23-year-old had not yet sought out a release.

Asked if he would consider granting Barba a release should he want out, Hasler said:

"It's not my call.

"I imagine that would be (a decision for) the board and the administration."

The Bulldogs are set to undergo a change in management in the coming weeks, with Raelene Castle coming on board as chief executive to replace Todd Greenberg, who will become the new NRL head of football on August 1.

Asked about his reluctance to let a player of Barba's quality go, Hasler said:

"He's a class player, I think any club would be wanting to hang onto someone like Ben Barba.

"At the moment we're treating it one week at a time, but there's a whole lot of issues, there's a whole lot of things that Ben's working on as well.

"I'm quite sure Ben wants to stay at the club, it's just the circumstances that are involved and that are personal and I would ask you to appreciate that."

Having missed the opening three rounds of the season when stood down from the club and ordered to undergo rehabilitation, Barba has failed to reproduce the electrifying form which catapulted the Bulldogs into last year's grand final, Canterbury's struggling for success as a result.

But after back-to-back losses, the Bulldogs beat premiers Melbourne heading into last week's bye to be sixth on the ladder ahead of Friday night's match against likely wooden spooners Parramatta at ANZ Stadium.

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