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Barba and Guildford: triumph of commonsense

Andrew Marmont Roar Guru

3 Have your say

    Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs rugby league player Ben Barba and Ainslie Currie arrive for the Dally M awards in Sydney, September 4, 2012. (Image: AAP/Paul Miller)

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    Ben Barba and Zac Guilford are two young men who have faced difficult personal issues lately.

    Guilford, a former All Black and Canterbury Crusaders player, admitted yesterday in a press conference he is an alcoholic. This was after a series of misdemeanours involving alcohol over the past year.

    Barba, the Canterbury Bulldogs fullback and 2012 Dally M Medal winner, was suspended by his club indefinitely after breaching the Bulldog’s code of conduct. He is also apparently battling personal issues.

    Both have been released to play for their respective teams in the coming weeks.

    I read an article in a New Zealand newspaper today arguing against Guildford retaining his contract with the New Zealand Rugby Union.

    He was given many chances and has stepped over the line every time with his poor behaviour. What kind of example does this set for a young rugby player wanting to make it professionally? Rip up his contract, it said.

    What a load of rubbish. How narrow-minded can you be? Do you know the actual issues?

    Equally I also read some fans’ opinions about how Barba shouldn’t come back into the game for the whole year.

    Again, he kept breaching the club’s code of conduct and what kind of example does this set for others? He shouldn’t be back for a long time they said.

    How much of the whole story do they know? Do they have a personal insight into what Barba has been going through? No.

    Happily and very rightly, the NZRU and the Canterbury Bulldogs haven’t acted on such a whim. They have allowed their two respective players to come back when ready.

    They have reportedly provided support in different ways, whether it be health professionals or from the organisation itself.

    Particularly in Guildford’s case, where his indiscretions were played out in public, terminating his contract would have been the easy option. But we can now reflect on two cases where sporting bodies allowed their players support to get help they required.

    Barba is still coming to terms with what needs to be done to get himself in the right frame of mind and has apologized to his teammates for letting them down. Guilford has admitted he has a mental illness and it is something he will continue to seek treatment for.

    It was probably a close call for both organisations to say “adios”, but the NZRU and Bulldogs should be applauded for exploring all options to help the individuals involved.

    Let’s hope Barba and Guildford continue their recoveries.

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    The Crowd Says (3)

    • March 15th 2013 @ 1:30pm
      oikee said | March 15th 2013 @ 1:30pm | ! Report

      Hard to talk about this, Zac has nothing to do with Australia.
      Ben has a problem caused by a breakdown with his relationship. Barba should recover nicely, he might go off the rails but at least we can help or spank him accordingly.
      Zac has had a few issues with alcolhol before, and i am not sure if that is the only problem, we will never know.
      NZ rugby are probably more desparate to get him playing again, Ben Barba is not our only choice, if that makes sense.

      We have Slater, Inglis, Hayne and others.

      Hope both recover well. I know one and would not know the other from a bar of soap.

      • March 16th 2013 @ 12:05am
        allblackfan said | March 16th 2013 @ 12:05am | ! Report

        oikee, not to worry – there are plenty who don’t know Ben Barba from a bar from soap but do know Zac – this is NOT an attempt at trolling but a bid to say that the greater the fame, the worse the problem. GO ZAC, GO BEN!!

    • Roar Guru

      March 15th 2013 @ 9:18pm
      Andrew Marmont said | March 15th 2013 @ 9:18pm | ! Report

      Hi Oikee, thanks for your continued thoughts here…. to clarify some points for you, they are both high profile players in their chosen sports, but are not the most elite players. Guilford has played a few tests for the All Blacks but is not first choice. He would compare with Barba in that respect. Guilford is not their only choice either.

      The link between Guilford and Barba is they are both high profile sportsmen, young, and in trouble, yet their paths to redemption have been almost parallel in how the have played out. I hope you got that.

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