Newspaper article The Daily Mercury (Mackay, Australia)

Bulldogs Take Up His Hands Honours as Barba Puts for Origin III Selection

Newspaper article The Daily Mercury (Mackay, Australia)

Bulldogs Take Up His Hands Honours as Barba Puts for Origin III Selection

Article excerpt

Michael Warren

RUGBY LEAGUE: Just 10 minutes into yesterday's NRL match between the Melbourne Storm and Canterbury Bulldogs a sense of deja vu rocked Virgin Australia Stadium a and it had a very local flavour to it.

As if he had never left a Mackay rugby league ground, Canterbury's Ben Barba, on cue, did what he always used to do as a junior player. He scored a try from nothing, to ignite his adoring fans, who had waited months to see him do exactly that.

Barba was electrifying in the first half, with several blistering returns from kicks, including one effort where he broke five tackles and ran 25 metres before having the ball knocked from his grasp just before the half-way line.

Camped 13 metres out from the Storm line on the fifth tackle, Barba managed to pluck a beautifully placed grubber from Josh Reynolds to score under the posts to give his team the perfect start.

His brilliance sent Queensland selectors a strong message as to why he should be selected for Origin three.

In the 32nd minute the Bulldogs, who had enjoyed a large amount of territory, were on the right end of a decision from the video referee, who gave a try to Krisnan Inu's catch and put down from a cross-field kick for the Bulldogs to lead 10-0.

If that wasn't enough, Barba put on another treat for his home-town fans, gliding through the Storm defence just over half-way and running 20 metres before offloading to Inu, who scored his second try to the right of the posts for a 14-4 lead.

Storm's Anthony Quinn had earlier reduced Canterbury's lead to six points when he regained a Cameron Smith cross-field kick to score in the corner.

But little did the 11,876 crowd know Barba, by now the magician, was soon to do something that not even he could have imagined.

With Canterbury leading 14-4 in the 76th minute, Barba scooped up a kicked from Cooper Cronk and went scurrying out of his own in-goal.

The show did not stop there. After beating a would-be defender, Barba stepped, jinked and then sprinted his way down the left touch-line in a run of 45 metres. …

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