There is no questioning the investment and support the Canterbury Bulldogs have put into Ben Barba. The 2012 Dally M player of the year has been treated very well by the Bulldogs.
After months of speculation that Ben Barba could leave the club and head back to Queensland to follow his partner, who wants to move back to Queensland herself with his children, enough is enough.
Ben Barba needs to make a decision. Is he staying or is he going?
It is a very difficult time for the Bulldogs right now. They committed so much of their salary cap to a player they don’t know will be around in 2014. Has Barba made a decision sooner rather than later, the Bulldogs may have been able to replace him. Now, the player market is starting to think out. The Bulldogs will be struggling to replace Barba going into 2014.
I can understand that family comes first. I can understand that Barba doesn’t want to be away from his children. The problem is Barba made a long term commitment to the Bulldogs
Every day in this country people fulfill obligations that take them away from their children. It is far from ideal, but that’s life. Barba could commit to the Bulldogs through to the end of 2014 and give the club time to find a suitable replacement. Barba can play the sympathy card as many times as he likes, but there is no getting around the fact that if he departs now, he has hurt the Bulldogs.
If Barba does end up playing for another club in 2014, the Bulldogs should get some sort of compensation from that club. Whether that is via a player trade or simply a financial payout, the Bulldogs should not lose him for nothing.
There also needs to be some sort of deterrent to stop clubs pursuing under contract players. Clubs need to know that if they offer more money to a player that is under contract they will be hit with some sort of penalty. We can’t continue to have a situation where NRL clubs are undermining each others playing roster.
I feel really sorry for the Bulldogs. It looks like they will lose Barba and they will be hard pressed to find a replacement. Luckily the NRL is a competition that has so many great fullbacks running around. Many teams have more than one first grade quality fullback in their squad.
That means the Bulldogs themselves will be forced to undermine an opposition club and offer a player who is under contract a better deal to move clubs.
So the cycle continues…
As for Barba, you can not sugar coat the situation he is leaving the Bulldogs in. He needs to do what he can to make this decision quickly. Otherwise he will be hurting everyone at the club that supported him through thick and thin.
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