Barba learns how to be small in All Stars - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Barba learns how to be small in All Stars

Ben Horne 15/02/2011 07:14:23 PM Comments (0)

Canterbury livewire Ben Barba has sought inspiration from Matt Bowen and Preston Campbell as he prepares to make a transition to fullback this NRL season.

Barba will give away plenty of size underneath the high ball, and spent last week in the Indigenous All Stars camp picking the brains of two No.1's who became star's despite their statures.

Twenty-one year-old Barba stands at just 174cm and is hoping to be down to 87kg for round one.

Bowen is similarly built, while Campbell gives away even more size - and both had tips for Barba on how he can adjust his game and make his dimensions work to his advantage.

According to Indigenous team-mates, Barba was joined at the hip with Bowen all week, with the Bulldogs whippet jumping at the chance to learn directly from one of his idols.

"I hung around Mango (Bowen) the whole time and just tried to learn off him on and off the field," said Barba.

"Just watching him and the way he plays on the field I learnt a lot.

"Blokes like them two inspire me and give me some confidence being so small.

"They've played so long and they've done so well in the game, that if I can be half of what those two blokes have been in their careers I'll be stoked."

Barba revealed that most of Bowen and Campbell's advice centred around the mental approach to the game, rather than physical requirements.

Cleaning up loose balls and returning kicks means fullbacks come in for their fair share of punishment, and the All Stars camp taught Barba that for a little man, bouncing back is all about attitude.

"He (Bowen) just talked about always being confident and giving me a pat on the back when I did things right and telling me if I did something wrong. He was talking about being relaxed and confident and not letting things get to me too much," Barba said.

"He said to just give yourself time and relax, I tend to be going at things 100 miles an hour most of the time.

"Matty's probably one of the most relaxed people I've met, for his position being a little bloke.

"Just being in the camp with them for a week hopefully rubs off on me, the confidence they carry into games."

Barba emerged as an attacking phenomenon in the Toyota Cup in 2008 and showed moments of brilliance as he settled into more regular first grade last year.

The Darwin-born and Queensland raised utility has exclusively played in the halves since he moved to Sydney, but believes fullback will help preserve his body and bring out his best.

"It definitely keeps me out of the firing line ... it saves a bit of energy being back there and hopefully that energy can come out when we've got the ball and I can do something myself," he said.

"But in saying that, you're going to have to return the ball to 13 blokes that want to smash you.

"Getting used to the amount of running they do in a game and the workload they have on them will be tough, but it will come in time."

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