Jamie Soward: Ben Barba is one of NRL’s biggest signings ahead of 2019

Former NRL superstar Jamie Soward thinks Ben Barba is one of the top signings in the NRL ahead of the new season.

Barba will return to the NRL in 2019 with North Queensland Cowboys after an 18-month spell in Super League with St Helens.

The 29-year-old scored 34 tries in 34 appearances for Saints, with his impressive performances seeing him pick up the Steve Prescott Man of Steel award as well as being named in the Super League Dream Team.

And Soward, who enjoyed two spells himself in Super League with London Broncos, thinks Barba is a top signing for the Cowboys.

In his column for NRL.com, he said: “They [Cowboys] struggled to find a full-back last year and now they get a Dally M Medal winner for the No. 1 jersey. Can the combo of Barba and Michael Morgan work quickly enough to get the Cowboys back to the finals?

“Barba’s running game, combined with his passing game, will be one of the main attractions for the 2019 Cowboys. I’m looking for him to be super fit and taking control of short sides like he did for the Sharks in 2016.

“Can Barba recapture his 2016 Premiership-winning form? If he does, they can challenge big time after the disappointment of last season’s 15th-placed finish.”

Barba won the Dally M Medal in 2012 for being the best player in the NRL while at Canterbury Bulldogs, and he will return to the NRL for the first time since 2016.