Barba hears the air raid siren - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Barba hears the air raid siren

By David Beniuk 17/03/2011 07:33:35 PM Comments (0)

Diminutive Canterbury fullback Ben Barba knows the high balls are heading his way and says Preston Campbell and Matt Bowen have shown the way in how to handle them.

Barba got off lightly in his first game as the Bulldogs' full-time custodian, Monday night's 24-14 win over the wayward-kicking Wests Tigers.

But the 174cm whiz kid knows the honeymoon won't last and could be over as soon as Sunday in Canterbury's clash with South Sydney.

"I'm going to expect a lot more during the year," Barba told reporters on Thursday.

"I'm not the biggest of all fullbacks but I look up to the guys like the Prestons and Matty ... they've done it for so long and so well.

"If I can replicate some of their efforts under the high ball then I'm happy."

To do so, he's caught hundreds of bombs throughout the off-season as he's honed the skills needed in the No.1 jersey.

"Nearly every training session I'll get the coaches to get out there and just keep sending me high balls after high balls," he said.

"(The toughest thing is) probably just the running, there's a lot more running than there is at five-eighth.

"You've got to be on one side, then they expect you to be on the other side and then you've got to return the kicks.

"And just my positioning when it comes to the last tackle."

Barba lit up an otherwise tough year for the Dogs in the No.6 jersey last year but solid performances, rather than his X-factor abilities, are the priority in his new position.

"Kev (coach Kevin Moore) gave me a bit of a tip-on for the game (against the Tigers)," Barba said.

"If I can get a spectacular performance he wants it, but he just wants me to do the right things at the right time and have a consistent game and do my job."

Moore will delay the decision on a replacement for injured centre Josh Morris until the eve of the ANZ Stadium clash with Souths.

Morris will be sidelined for 6-8 weeks after suffering a torn posterior cruciate ligament in his right knee.

"We had three or four guys still recovering from Monday night that didn't train today so we've got a final session on Saturday morning and we'll make a decision depending on how those blokes recover in the next couple of days," Moore said.

"There's two or three in the mix."

Ex-Parramatta centre Jonathan Wright is probably the frontrunner, while utility Dene Halatau has previously played in the centres and current benchman Ben Roberts may also be considered.

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