An open letter to Ben Barba

Tim Prentice Columnist

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    Ben Barba has been done for cocaine and is off to France. AAP Image/Paul Miller

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    Dear Ben Barba, a genuinely warm welcome back to action. I am but one fan keenly awaiting your return for the Bulldogs against unbeaten South Sydney at ANZ Stadium on Friday.

    The game has missed your sizzling cameos from the rear of the Dogs’ backline but you should know that all along, rugby league was prepared to wait until you had exorcised your personal demons and were in the right mental shape to start your career afresh.

    And that’s exactly what you will be doing in front of a 35,000-plus crowd at headquarters.

    It’s not going to be easy by any stretch of the imagination. There will be thousands of Canterbury fans sweating on you to spark the team’s attack as you did so frequently in your stellar, Dally M-winning 2012 season.

    I’m guessing you will feel the pressure to perform for them but I’m sure your coach and teammates will want you to take things quietly and try to ease your way back to your brilliant best.

    There will more than likely be some hecklers from the Souths camp.

    History shows almost every time a player who was the subject of controversial headlines returned to the field, there were hoons who yelled unthinkable things from the stands in a bid to cause distraction, or they did so merely out of spite.

    I’m hoping you can focus solely on the game and the contribution you can make on Friday and in the weeks ahead.

    If there happens to be some unsavoury stuff aimed at you, be assured, there are thousands of Rabbitoh fans who appreciate what you have been through and are willing you to have a successful comeback.

    Having said all of the above, I would love to see you turn on a big one for your club officials and especially your loyal teammates.

    They are the ones who helped you get up off the floor. They are the ones who wanted you back in the fold (but only when there were green lights in all of the important areas of rehabilitation).

    I sincerely hope the serious problems in your off-field life become fast-fading memories and that the ‘new’ Benny Barba becomes the player everyone respects – on and off the field.

    Second chances in life and sporting careers are to be treasured. You’ve been handed yours by your family, friends and your employer and it will please everyone if you can eventually get back to the lofty heights you scaled so instinctively last season.

    I have personally missed your amazing speed and skills over the first three rounds of 2013.

    So have the Bulldogs who are one from three.

    But the most important thing is that you have reached a level enabling a return to top grade action and, from all reports, you are in good shape, mentally and physically.

    Enjoy putting on those boots again Ben.

    And I hope that once again you experience the joy of the game that never deserted you.

    Yours sincerely,

    Tim Prentice

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    The Crowd Says (15)

    • March 27th 2013 @ 7:26am
      Mals said | March 27th 2013 @ 7:26am | ! Report

      Good luck BB in your return game but not too much luck as I would prefer a Bunnies win.

      Greenberg has been quiet this week, is he still searching for the doctors permission slip for BB to play on Friday night? 😉

      Comment left via The Roar’s iPhone app. Download it now [].

      • March 28th 2013 @ 4:36pm
        JayBob said | March 28th 2013 @ 4:36pm | ! Report

        Haha yeh Des probably named him and told Greenberg to get the slip before Friday 🙂

    • March 27th 2013 @ 9:21am
      Nate Hornblower said | March 27th 2013 @ 9:21am | ! Report

      I want to see Benny Barba back like all footy fans, but he did a 2 week stint in rehab. He is likely still mixing in the same social circles. For someone with some serious alcohol and gambling issues, does this feel rushed to anyone else?

      • March 27th 2013 @ 4:10pm
        Renegade said | March 27th 2013 @ 4:10pm | ! Report

        Let me just say that it’s not a coincedence that Pritchard and Barba are both back this week…..

        Good luck to them both.

        • March 27th 2013 @ 4:37pm
          B.A Sports said | March 27th 2013 @ 4:37pm | ! Report

          Why do you say that?

          From what i understand (all rumor of course) the bigger shock would have been if Kasiano and Barba had come back this week.

          • March 28th 2013 @ 5:11pm
            JayBob said | March 28th 2013 @ 5:11pm | ! Report

            You guys must have got your rumours confused 😉

            Doesn’t surprise me with the amount floating around.

    • March 27th 2013 @ 11:14am
      Maroon Blood said | March 27th 2013 @ 11:14am | ! Report

      As has often been stated, one of the major contributing factors to professional footballers going off the rails is time on their hands. Although not knowing exactly the extent of Barba’s issues he is dealing with, I would think that sitting around his house doing nothing instead of doing what he loves, training and playing, would be far more detrimental.
      Sounds like he is getting good advise from both his club and medical professionals so if being back on the playing field is an important part of his rehabilitation then I say all the best to Benny and will certainly be looking forward to observing and enjoying the skills and talent of probably THE most watchable player in the NRL.
      Hopefully there will be minimal, if any, heckling but you can never disount the moron factor in crowds unfortunately.

    • March 27th 2013 @ 2:25pm
      Brendo said | March 27th 2013 @ 2:25pm | ! Report

      Good to see him back on the park. Epic Bender Crew forever!!!

    • March 27th 2013 @ 3:33pm
      Joel said | March 27th 2013 @ 3:33pm | ! Report

      The biggest impact Barba (as well as Pritchard) will have in coming back is that they will be drawing in scrambling defenders meaning Josh Morris will get some early ball to dominate the opposition centres. Something the Bulldogs have been missing the last 3 weeks.

      …Yes I am a Dogs fan if you couldn’t tell.

    • March 27th 2013 @ 5:02pm
      sam said | March 27th 2013 @ 5:02pm | ! Report

      all the people saying that 2 weeks is too short ever heard of a guy named brett farve he was an nfl quarterback who was adicted to pain killers and almot died from a seizure he went to rehab for about 5 and a half weeks and then came back a much better playr to eventually lead his team to a spuerbowl that same year. thats a pretty short time for someone who was dealing with much bigger problems than BB and he was also a strong alchaholic

      • March 27th 2013 @ 5:15pm
        eagleJack said | March 27th 2013 @ 5:15pm | ! Report

        The fact of the matter is we have no idea what Ben Barba’s “problems” are.

        One thing is for sure, we have not even been given close to the true story.

        But the NRL is a better poduct with BB running around and Im looking forward to watching him tear it up again. Best of luck to him.

        • March 27th 2013 @ 8:39pm
          sam said | March 27th 2013 @ 8:39pm | ! Report

          yeh right although greedberg did take action we were never told i dont think they were that serious because he would be kicked out but it was enough to be suspended him it could really be anything

        • March 28th 2013 @ 4:51pm
          JayBob said | March 28th 2013 @ 4:51pm | ! Report

          Fans were told what they needed to know, but it wasn’t good enough. Clearly they are entitled to know every aspect of his personal life, and if they don’t they will proceed to make up rumours, then believed the ones they want to.

          “One thing is for sure, we have not even been given close to the true story.”
          Haha classic, how do you know it’s untrue if you have absolutely no idea what happened?

          These are the facts, you can choose to believe them or continue to rumour monger:

          1) Intense media pressure unlike anything we have ever experienced
          2) Break up with mother of children
          3) Gambling, drinking.. depression
          4) Stupid decisions, such as EBC and run-in with Tim Browne (bad attitude altogether)
          5) Loss of interest in Rugby League(likely due to depression)
          6) Rehab
          7) Back to normal life to assist in unfinished rehab(that has been going for about a month, so far)

          Anyone that has experienced even a slight form of depression knows that being away from your normal life for too long is only going to make things worse, that is why he has come back early, to continue his rehab.

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