It was only a few weeks ago that the sensational news came through that the Canterbury Bulldogs has suspended Ben Barba indefinitely due to undisclosed off field issues.
At the time the Bulldogs refused to break and tell the media what was wrong. They were putting Ben Barba’s health first in a courageous move that was applauded by many within the game. The length of his recovery was not put on a time frame. Todd Greenberg said it could be anything from 6 weeks to 6 months, but he stressed that the most important thing was that Barba got the help he needed. Football was no longer something he needed to be concerned with.
It is troubling that after the Bulldogs opening round loss to the North Queensland Cowboys, in a game that they clearly lacked Barba’s class, there are now reports emerging that Barba has left rehabilitation and is now ready to start training with the team, with people suggesting he will be playing in just a few weeks time.
What happened to Bens health being the number one priority?
Surely he needs time to recover from what ever treatment he has been getting. The last thing in the world he needs right now is to step back into the spotlight and becoming the savior to the Bulldogs fans and their hopes of premiership glory! It was made clear by Todd Greenberg that Barba had a number of serious issues to work through. If he has already worked through those issues than I want the name of his doctor!
This is the balance you have to worry about, where does a football club place its priorities. In their defense, football clubs are in the business of winning football games. That is their entire focus. It is great that clubs also look after the welfare of their players, but getting the right balance is a really tough thing to achieve.
I want to see Ben Barba out there carving up the competition. We all do! The people around Ben Barba want that too. It is great to see him achieving so much in the game in such a short space of time. The thing is, he needs someone looking after him that doesn’t care about any of that. Who really does just see Ben, a young bloke that is dealing with a whole lot of different issues and that needs time to sort his life out.
It is hard to get into the head of an NRL player, they lead completely different lives to most people. Their issues in some ways are very different to what many of us have to deal with. If you or I have a bad day, we can wallow away without any problems at all. When these guys have a bad day…it can be front page news for a week. You reckon Ben Barba can just go to the local shops and pick up a loaf of bread at the moment without it becoming an ordeal? No chance!
As much as I want to see Ben Barba back on the field, I don’t want to see him for months. I want to see him come back with his life back on track. Forget football, I want Ben, the person, to be happy.
I hope that is still the priority of the people running the Bulldogs.