Ennis says Barba must put family first

Bulldogs captain Michael Ennis says he would understand if Ben Barba wanted to quit the club for family reasons.

In an interview published on Wednesday, Barba said he would be forced to leave Sydney should ex-girlfriend and childhood sweetheart Ainslie Currie relocate to Queensland with their two daughters, Bronte and Bodhi.

”If my ex-partner took my kids back to Queensland, for myself personally, I would find it hard to stay down here and be so far away from home. I’d have to go as well,” the reigning Dally M medallist told Rugby League Week.

The 24-year-old’s split from Currie was central to the personal problems that led to him being stood down by Canterbury before the season. He returned in round four in April and, lately, has been crucial to the Bulldogs’ rise up the ladder.

Ennis said he would hate to lose the club’s brilliant fullback but, as a father of three himself, had compassion for Barba’s position.

”At the end of the day, Ben is a father of the two young girls. If Ben decided that he needed to go back to Queensland to be with his children if that’s where they headed, then I would understand that,” the Canterbury captain said before Friday’s clash with Sydney Roosters at ANZ Stadium.

”He’s a huge part of our side, and a fantastic young guy who has evolved so much over the last two years not only as a player but also as a person. It would be very disappointing to lose him but the other part of me, as a father as well, would certainly understand. It’s a big commitment being a father and you obviously want to be around your children and watch them grow up.”

Barba is on contract at Belmore until the end of the 2015 season but has been linked with the Broncos, a move that would free Canterbury for a shot at cross-code star Israel Folau.

Bulldogs chief executive Todd Greenberg said he was not aware of any intention by Barba to leave. ”First of all it speaks volumes of Ben, where his head space is at, that his family is that important to him,” Greenberg said. ”But it’s important to remember that Ben is contracted to us for the next two years. We have never had a discussion about an early release or a potential release.”


The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.