Barba leaves Moore facing predicament - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Barba leaves Moore facing predicament

By Steve Jancetic 20/03/2010 04:39:58 PM Comments (0)

Canterbury coach Kevin Moore admits he is facing a difficult balancing act as he tries to give Ben Barba more playing time while working to revive his team.

Barba gave another glimpse of his potential with a spectacular individual try in Friday night's 26-6 loss to St George Illawarra at WIN Stadium, his second-half touchdown one of few bright spots as the Bulldogs made it two losses from two attempts to start the season.

Barba came off the bench to play just over 40 minutes at five-eighth, with starting pivot Ben Roberts spending time at hooker and on the bench to accommodate the exciting 20-year-old.

But with the Bulldogs still winless and searching for the rhythm which propelled them to within a game of last year's grand final, Moore admitted he had some difficult decisions to make.

"Fitting him into the side can be a little bit of a difficult thing as far as where do you bring him on because to be fair to Ben Roberts and Noddy (Brett Kimmorley), their combination last year was outstanding." Moore said.

"You don't want to mess with that too much but you also want to balance that by giving Benny some opportunities in first grade because the middle part and back end of the season he could be really handy for us.

"We're trying to blood Ben Barba into a first grader because we see the positives in him.

"He's still got some areas in his game to work on but I think most people who would have seen him over the last couple of weeks would agree the things he needed to work on he's improving - there's a lot of light at the end of the tunnel.

"A bloke with that sort of talent, you've got to give him opportunity to flourish in first grade." Ironically it's neither Kimmorley nor Roberts who is likely to eventually make way for Barba, but rather veteran fullback Luke Patten.

"I think what we're trying to do is groom him for the fullback job down the track - we've got Luke Patten who will finish his contract with us at the end of next year and you look at all the fullbacks in the game these days, Benny's got as much talent as any of them," Moore said.

"Without that responsibility and pressure of having to run the team from seven and six, that's going to be his go down the track."

Moore said the outlook on props Michael Hodgson and Mickey Paea was not good after both suffered suspected medial ligament tears, the pair to undergo scans on Monday with the initial prognosis being a layoff between 4-6 weeks.

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