Barba edging closer to Super League bow

Ben Barba has to sit through just one more St Helens game before he is eligible to make his Super League debut for the club.

Barba, 28, joined Saints three months ago but has been forced to serve a 12-match suspension handed down to him by the NRL.

His last match action was for Cronulla Sharks in the NRL Grand Final and as league games go, he couldn’t be returning in a much bigger one – Saints against Wigan.

Saints are naturally using his presence to drum up interest in ticket sales for what will already be an intriguing encounter, given both sides are fighting for a place in the top four and a route to Old Trafford.

Barba told the club’s official website: “I’m a bit nervous more than anything; it’s like I’m debuting again, it’s a big build up.

“It’s going to be my first rugby league game in 10 months since the Grand Final in Australia so hopefully I don’t forget anything.

“I’m really excited and, on the other hand, nervous. I’ve always told myself when I feel nervous it means I’m alive, it means I’m normal. They’re good nerves.

“I’m really looking forward to the atmosphere too.”

Barba tested positive for cocaine in an out of competition test and was ultimately released by the Sharks as a result, eventually winding up in French rugby union with Toulon.

In May, he joined Saints on a two-and-a-half year deal to become one of the most high profile Super League imports in recent years.

He needs just one try to reach a century of tries in club rugby league.

St Helens travel to Leeds this weekend to get their play-off push back on track following the narrow loss to Hull last weekend.

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