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Barba keeping open mind

By Ben Horne 29/08/2010 02:09:46 PM Comments (0)

Canterbury livewire Ben Barba says he would jump at the chance to play fullback for the NRL club next season but he and coach Kevin Moore have agreed not to lock him into a position just yet.

With Luke Patten farewelling the club for the English Super League after 10 seasons of service in the No.1 jersey, Moore has said Barba could adapt to playing a Matt Bowen-style game at the back.

Two of the club's top signings for 2011 are young gun halves Trent Hodkinson and Kris Keating, meaning the Bulldogs have plenty of options in their spine positions.

Barba said he'd be more than comfortable providing his X-factor from fullback, but was insistent no decision had been made on where he will fit into the side.

"Both me and Kev said not to lock in a position yet and you never know - I could still be off the bench as an impact player," Barba told AAP.

"So when that time comes if I get a spot I'll be happy but I'll just be happy to be in the team anyway.

"I've played a lot of juniors at fullback and it's a position I don't mind playing so if I get the chance I'll grab it with both hands."

Despite the Bulldogs' dour season, Barba has provided some of the real highlights with some dazzling touches in attack mostly coming off the bench.

However, Barba knows it wasn't all roses for him this year, and is looking forward to the chance to play with Hodkinson and Keating when the Bulldogs turn over a new leaf.

"I believe it was a bit hot and cold," he said.

"For a while I was going alright but I went back in my shell and I've got to learn to be more consistent throughout the whole year and keep working on the little things.

"I learnt heaps more than any other time being in the top grade squad so it was a big learning performance and hopefully it works for me next year.

"I played against both of them when I first came down here in Jersey Flegg and they were both playing for Parramatta so I enjoyed playing against them then they were always the key players."

Barba and his Bulldogs team-mates are desperate to send Patten and fellow star Brett Kimmorley out winners, when they play their final home match of the season against Penrith at ANZ Stadium on Monday night.

Patten admits he doesn't know how he'll feel when it's all over.

"It probably won't kick in until I'm actually at the airport with my bags packed going overseas and then maybe until I see the Bulldogs play next year," Patten said.

"Probably after the game I'll be more emotional ... I was a bit overwhelmed by the way people are wishing me all the best, it's going to be really sad."

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