Ben Barba said he can’t wait to kick-start his NRL career again with his childhood club North Queensland Cowboys.
The 29-year-old has joined the Cowboys for the 2019 season after having an impressive spell in Super League with St Helens, winning the Steve Prescott Man of Steel award.
Barba grew up supporting the Cowboys and hopes to replicate the form of his childhood hero Matty Bowen in the North Queensland jersey.
Speaking to Cowboys Media, Barba said: “Playing for North Queensland is something I dreamt of doing as a kid and to be given the opportunity for the coming year, I’m very excited.
“It was just the opportunity to come back to where I come from. I played most of my senior footy in Sydney and now to be just down the road from where I grew up in Mackay, it is going to give some of my family who haven’t seen me play much live to see me a little bit more, so that is one of my main reasons of coming here.
“I grew up supporting the Cowboys and looked up to players like Matty (Bowen) so it is always something that I wanted to do.
“I can’t wait for pre-season and to meet new faces. It is like starting a new school when you start with a new team but I’ve already met some of the guys in past years. I’m just excited to start with a new side and start my NRL journey again.”
Barba has now moved back to Australia following St Helens’ heartbreaking semi-final defeat to Warrington Wolves.
He added: It’s been pretty full on but luckily enough, I’ve got a great partner.
“It was a rush job, we finished over in England and got back here straight away because I needed to find somewhere to live and start the process of living back home again.
“I’m staying in Mackay at the moment so I’m getting used to being back in the hot weather!”