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No worries over Barba tackle: Hasler

Canterbury coach Des Hasler was as dry as ever in backing Ben Barba after the Bulldogs star was put on report for a late knees-first tackle in their narrow NRL win over St George Illawarra.
No worries over Barba tackle: Hasler
by AAP

By Will Knight

SYDNEY, June 1 AAP - Canterbury coach Des Hasler was as dry as ever in backing Ben Barba after the Bulldogs star was put on report for a late knees-first tackle in their narrow NRL win over St George Illawarra.

With the Bulldogs in control leading 12-0 just three minutes before halftime, Barba made contact with Jamie Soward's lower back well after the Dragons five-eighth dived over for a try in the corner.

On review by the video referees, the season's first potential eight-point try was awarded and Soward duly converted both attempts to get the Dragons back in the contest.

Luckily for Barba, his tardy effort ultimately didn't cost his side victory as Soward missed a dramatic penalty kick after the full-time siren for Canterbury to seal a 16-14 triumph.

But it may cost him time on the sidelines.

While rugby league fans will be counting down the hours until State of Origin I on Wednesday in Sydney, Barba will be awaiting the NRL match review committee's findings at the start of the week and whether he'll face the judiciary.

Not that his Bulldogs coach was fazed.

"No," was Hasler's blunt reply on Friday night after being asked whether Barba should be worried about being charged.

"A penalty is sufficient. There wasn't a lot in it. It was all OK."

A suspension would halt the solid progress the Dally M winner has made over the last few rounds following a delayed start to the season and with the resurgent Bulldogs having won five of their past six games.

Centre Krisnan Inu will return from his second ban of the season when the Bulldogs travel to Townsville to face North Queensland next Saturday.

But with Josh Morris and Joel Reynolds on NSW duty putting stress on squad depth - as Origin does at most clubs - Hasler cherishes every win over the coming two months.

"We are in that period of Origin where sides are without players so it is going to be like that for the next six to eight weeks," said Hasler.

"Two points is vital."




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