Barba agrees early release from St Helens deal – reports

Photo courtesy of Richard Long

Ben Barba is set to return to the NRL at the end of the season after agreeing a release from his deal at St Helens, according to reports Down Under.

NRL.com says they have confirmed with the Barba camp that the Man of Steel favourite will be moving clubs for 2019 after just over a year in Super League.

Barba, 29, has been a stand out player in the competition since arriving midway through last season, first having to serve a 12-match ban which had contributed to his exit from the NRL in the first place.

A former Dally M winner, Barba has played more than 150 games in the NRL for Canterbury, Brisbane and Cronulla, winning a Grand Final with the Sharks.

He was released by Cronulla at the back end of 2016 after testing positive for cocaine in an out of competition test.

The full-back then switched codes to sign for French rugby union club Toulon, but was sacked after just four games.

Speculation has mounted over Barba’s future since virtually the start of the season, with his form instrumental in Saints dominating Super League so far in 2018.

Saints have already added Kevin Naiqama for next season, potentially as a replacement for Barba, as well as James Batchelor and Joseph Paulo.