The Cronulla Sutherland Sharks have announced the signing of Ben Barba from Brisbane Broncos on Tuesday evening, effective immediately, on a three year deal.
Rumours had been circling for a while that the fullback turned five eight was set to don the black, white and blue. Confirmation from returning Brisbane coach Wayne Bennett that Darius Boyd would be following him home to the Broncos opened the door for Barba’s switch to be reality.
Boyd has never played under another coach, and despite Newcastle Knights coach Rick Stone saying it was time for Boyd to “cut the cord” from Bennett, the fullback instead has sought a release to stay with the supercoach, who he views as a father figure.
It has been a tangled web of changes for Barba to get to Cronulla, involving large forces beyond anyone’s control including the fall of Nathan Tinkler from Newcastle, the ensuing moving on of Bennett and the sacking of Todd Carney at Cronulla.
The Sharks were on the look out for someone to fill the halves position vacated by Carney, desperate for someone who can be an x-factor, with the club failing to fire in attack. This lack of offensive skills was highlighted by the sharks failure to score in four consecutive games mid way through 2014.
Barba won the 2012 Dally M medal playing for the Canterbury Bulldogs but struggled to maintain that form as he dealt with personal issues. He moved to Brisbane in 2014 to be closer to his family, but again failed to find his spark, although his form began to return late as the Brisbane side made their way in to the finals. He will reunite with former Bulldog captain Michael Ennis at the Sharks.
While a formal announcement on Boyd is yet to be made by Brisbane, it is only a matter of time, with Bennett confirming the fullback has agreed to a three year deal.
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