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Barba sacking continues horror NRL summer


(AAP Image/Michael Chambers)

The NRL's horror summer of off-field problems have continued after Ben Barba was sacked by North Queensland over domestic violence allegations.

The Cowboys on Friday tore up Barba's contract before he had even played a game after a "significant" breach of his playing contract.

Multiple reports alleged the former Dally M medallist assaulted his partner, Ainslie Currie, at a Townsville casino on Australia Day.

It is unclear whether police charges have been laid, however Townsville police are reportedly investigating the incident.

It is yet another troubling look for the code, with Jarryd Hayne, Jack de Belin, Zane Musgrove, Liam Coleman, and Dylan Walker also facing assault charges.

Barba's teammate Scott Bolton was also handed a 12-month good behaviour month in early January after pleading guilty to common assault.

The club informed the NRL integrity unit of the matter on Friday before moving quickly to sack Barba later in the day.

"When a player joins the North Queensland Cowboys he agrees to abide by the terms of the contract," Cowboys chairman Laurence Lancini said on Friday.

"After an internal investigation, it has been determined that this player has acted in contradiction to both the terms and the spirit of that agreement.

"Accordingly, the club has terminated his contract and has informed the NRL's Integrity Unit."

The development comes six years after Currie was forced to deny being assaulted by Barba when photos of facial injuries, believed to be hers, were published in a newspaper.

Then-Canterbury chief executive Todd Greenberg, who is now NRL boss, was heavily criticised for standing Barba down at the time but not sacking him.

Barba's axing also comes on the same day he was selected to play fullback for the Indigenous All Stars on February 15.

Two years after being sacked by Cronulla for testing positive to cocaine, the 29-year-old Barba appeared set to revive his NRL career this season.

Now not only does Barba's rugby league career to be over, but Cowboys coach Paul Green will have to reconsider his fullback options for this season.

The likes of Ben Hampton, Michael Morgan, and Te Maire Martin are the likely candidates, with Hampton starting and finishing last year in the No.1 jumper.

Barba's torn-up one-year deal is also likely to fuel speculation of the club inquiring about NFL hopeful Valentine Holmes for 2020 and beyond.

Holmes recently said he would likely join the Cowboys next year if he fails in his bid to be picked up by an NFL club.

© AAP 2019

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