Disgraced former NRL star Ben Barba could make a shock return to rugby league in the new North American Rugby League competition.
As reported by The Daily Telegraph, the one-time Dally M Medallist has approached the league’s New York franchise with the hopes of resurrecting his footy career.
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If the NARL approves his request, Barba could find himself playing rugby league again by June, when the competition kicks off.
The Daily Telegraphreports competition directors will meet with Barba to determine whether or not he is likely to repeat his off-field transgressions in the United States.
“Ben has approached us and we would have to consider the positives and negatives of whether he could be signed,” said a spokesperson for the NARL, who will reportedly make a decision about Barba within the next week.
Barba last played professional rugby league for St Helens in 2018.
He left Australia to join the British Super League side after winning the 2016 NRL premiership with Cronulla.
Barba returned to Australia and signed with the Cowboys for 2019, but was sacked before playing a game for assaulting his partner at a Townsville casino.
At the time, a court heard Barba pinned his partner of 16 years against a wall on Australia Day and charged her to the ground.
Acting Magistrate John Smith sentenced him to 150 hours of community service, acknowledging that, in being sacked from the NRL, Barba “suffered one enormous penalty”.
Last year, Barba was fined a total of $2,500 for allegedly assaulting his brother-in-law in Mackay. No conviction was recorded.
“You had everything given to you and you threw it away,” Magistrate James Morton told Barba at the time.
Barba is yet to speak publicly about reports he is keen on a rugby league return.
The Toronto Wolfpack, whose financial troubles forced them to withdraw from their maiden Super League campaign last year, will be one of the 14 teams competing in the NARL.
Clubs representing Boston, Las Vegas, San Diego, Atlanta and more will also feature.
“Our sole aim is to grow the fantastic sport of rugby league in North America and create a legacy for generations to come,” a representative for the league said in a statement earlier this month.