Barba catching eye of Maroon selectors - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Barba catching eye of Maroon selectors

Wayne Heming 26/04/2011 03:33:23 PM Comments (0)

Ben Barba has drawn comparisons with Billy Slater and Matt Bowen as he thrusts his name before Queensland State of Origin selectors.

With his speed, flair and an uncanny knack for scoring tries from anywhere on the field, the young Canterbury fullback is the hottest young player in the NRL.

Eight tries in his last five games have boosted Barba's status as an Origin player of the future and he'll have a further chance to showcase his wares when his team meets the Brisbane at Suncorp on Friday night.

Selectors Des Morris, Gene Miles and Alan Smith are set to remain loyal to Melbourne halfback Cooper Cronk to fill the utility job in record-breaking Queensland's squad for Origin I on May 27, but Barba's feats have certainly grabbed attention.

"That's fortunately the depth we've got at the moment going through a golden period," Miles told AAP when asked about Barba's rapid development.

"Things always happen around Origin time, whether it be injuries, suspensions or guys facing charges so you have to keep all your options open.

"He's definitely a player we're watching but Cooper (Cronk) has done a magnificent (utility) job after we were left scratching our heads to find someone to replace Karmichael Hunt."

The consensus is while Barba possesses all the attacking weapons, he still needs more NRL experience to develop the toughness needed for the inferno of Origin football.

Still, he is impressing the right people.

Brisbane's Queensland Origin centre Justin Hodges likes what he sees from Barba and is wary of the 21-year-old ahead of Friday's NRL clash.

"He's playing some great footy," said Hodges. "He reminds you a bit of Matty Bowen who could come on late in the second half (of an Origin) and sting you around the ruck."

Hodges noted Barba was playing a similar attacking style to the game's best, Queensland custodian Billy Slater.

"He's not bashing himself up the middle. He's waiting and he knows who to follow these days and it takes a clever fullback to do that," said Hodges.

"That's what makes Billy so great."

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2022 AAP

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