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NRL asks Bulldogs for Barba documents

Canterbury have been asked to hand over all documentation relating to their February suspension of Ben Barba to the NRL integrity unit as part of an investigation into the club's handling of their star fullback.
NRL asks Bulldogs for Barba documents
by AAP

By Steve Jancetic and Laine Clark

SYDNEY, Sept 2 AAP - Canterbury have been asked to hand over all documentation relating to their February suspension of Ben Barba to the NRL integrity unit as part of an investigation into the club's handling of their star fullback.

Sydney barrister Tony Bannon SC will carry out the review on behalf of the NRL - with the league desperate to ensure transparency in its investigation as to process involved in Barba being stood down.

"It is important that everyone can have faith in the independence of the process and Tony Bannon is perfectly qualified to deliver that outcome," NRL chief operating officer Jim Doyle said in a statement.

"He will be provided with all relevant information and have the opportunity to carry out any interviews he deems appropriate.

"It is our intention that the review will be completed as soon as possible but it is ultimately up to Mr Bannon to determine the final timeframe."

Questions as to the Bulldogs handling of the the Dally M winner's suspension for the opening three rounds of the season were raised following a weekend newspaper report which claimed Barba was alleged to have punched a woman in the face the day before he was suspended.

At the time of the suspension, then Bulldogs chief executive Todd Greenberg - who is now the NRL's head of football - said Barba was being stood down to deal with personal problems.

There were suggestions at the time that those issues related to gambling and alcohol.

The Bulldogs last week released Barba from the final two years of his contract to join Brisbane in 2014.

Despite the cloud now hanging over Barba's future, the Broncos were willing to discuss the potential impact he could have on the club.

Veteran lock Corey Parker reckoned the matchwinning No.1 should not be seen as the answer to the Broncos' woes.

Brisbane were knocked out of the top eight hunt and relegated to their worst tally of season wins in the club's history when they lost 26-18 to Newcastle last Friday night.

"He's a quality player and he's going to bring some spark to any team he goes to," Parker said.

"But I don't think it would be fair to say if Ben Barba was here things will be different.

"He's going to be an added bonus but he's not going to be the be-all and end-all."

There is a chance Barba may even run out against Brisbane on Thursday night as he continues his recovery from an ankle injury.

Broncos captain Sam Thaiday said they were preparing as if Barba would play.

"I haven't heard too much (but) we will prepare for that with the video stuff we do," he said.

"But how do you prepare for a player like that? He brings an X-factor."

Media were not allowed to ask Broncos players about the NRL investigation on Monday.

And Thaiday had no real answer when quizzed about what impact the probe may have on the Bulldogs' performance on Thursday night.

"That's for them to deal with. Our main focus is to get a bit of pride back," he said.


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