Barba eyeing Bulldogs No. 1 jersey - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Barba eyeing Bulldogs No. 1 jersey

By Steve Jancetic 31/07/2010 05:53:20 PM Comments (0)

He has his eyes firmly set on Luke Patten's No.1 jumper next year, but for now gun Canterbury youngster Ben Barba is doing all he can to stop Ben Roberts reclaiming the No.6.

Barba has taken advantage of Roberts' extended stint on the sidelines to establish himself in the Bulldogs run-on side, the 21-year-old continuing his good form with another strong display in Friday night's 32-12 NRL win over South Sydney.

He laid on the opening try for Bryson Goodwin with a clever grubber before his night was brought to an abrupt end after falling victim to a nasty grapple tackle from Bunnies star Sam Burgess.

Ironically Barba's early shower provided the opportunity for Roberts to make his return to action after three months out with an ankle injury.

But Barba said he wouldn't be giving Roberts an easy passage into the starting line-up with the Bulldogs keeping their slim final hopes alive with the win.

"It's always good having competition, it brings the best of me when there's someone else trying to go for the same position," Barba said.

"Hopefully I can continue to do my job and whatever Kevie (coach Kevin Moore) does next week I'll be happy."

The ultimate goal however remains the fullback berth, which will become vacant in 2011 when Patten heads to England to play for Super League side Salford.

"Most likely I'll be given a chance to prove myself there at the start of next year - if that happens it happens but if it doesn't then wherever I play I'll do my best," Barba said.

"I came to the club as a fullback and then just got the chance to play at five-eighth - it's something I enjoy playing."

The win left the Bulldogs on 18 competition points with five rounds remaining.

They can still get to 28 points with a perfect finish to the regular season - and while there is still plenty of debate over whether 28 will be enough to qualify for the finals, Moore said his side wouldn't be giving up.

"There's plenty of fight left in us," Moore said.

"We'll turn up to Newcastle next week and hopefully achieve what we're looking to achieve.

"At our best we can trouble anyone - I've got no doubt about that, particularly when we get our key forwards and grunt up front, our good players get an opportunity to shine."

The Rabbitohs lost for the fifth time in their last seven games to leave themselves exposed at the bottom of the top eight.

But the biggest concern surrounds Burgess, who will almost certainly attract a charge for the 44th minute tackle on Barba.

A grade one contrary conduct charge would see him cleared to play next week with an early guilty plea, but anything greater and Burgess will be eyeing a stint on the sidelines.

Despite walking off clutching his neck, Barba said he hoped to see Burgess cleared of any wrongdoing.

"I've got nothing against the tackle - it happens in footy - there's no ill feelings towards Sam," Barba said.

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