SUPER League chief executive Robert Elstone says it’s “almost impossible to see” 2018 Man Of Steel Ben Barba being permitted to return to the competition.
The former Dally M medallist has been sacked by North Queensland and deregistered by the NRL amid reports of domestic assault. NRL chief executive Todd Greenberg has warned of a life ban and a Rugby Football League statement offered support for the Australian authorities.
But speculation continues to swirl that Super League clubs will attempt to sign him. However, speaking for the first time on the issue, Elstone told Rugby AM they are unlikely to be successful.
“I think we have two duties,” Elstone said at our studios, where he was taping this week’s episode.
“One, to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the Cowboys and the NRL and also we have a duty to our own competition.
“So in light of not knowing all the circumstances, it is almost impossible to see a way back for Ben Barba, back into Super League.”
Greenberg on Tuesday said he would stop short of asking for a worldwide ban but advised Barba to find another job. Australian rugby union, now headed by former Canterbury chief executive Raelene Castle, has also said it will observe the deregistration.
Elstone continued: “I don’t know what he’s done and clearly it’s a hypothetical in the sense of whether the player would want to come back and clearly whether any club would want him back.
“The decisiveness of the Cowboys’ actions suggest there is something significant of wholly inappropriate behaviour.”