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Ben Barba

Bulldogs

Bulldogs
 
Bulldogs

Billy Slater

Storm

It makes no difference whether he’s chiming into the backline on a set move or searching for room deep inside his own quarter – the fact is oppositions continue to find collaring Ben Barba the toughest assignment in the NRL. Just when players think they have him surrounded he’ll pump his legs and in a blur of acceleration be off and gone – either touching down for a try or paving the way for a team-mate to score.
Ben Barba
 
Billy Slater
Billy Slater was simply unstoppable early in the season, scoring nine tries in his first five games including doubles against the Raiders, Rabbitohs, Titans and Roosters. Having scored two tries in each of his first four games, he then fell one try short of becoming the first player in 100 years to make it doubles in his first five. He also broke the record for most tries scored in premiership history by a fullback when he scored his 130th against the Gold Coast in Round 3.
 
 

Barba’s cut

Friday 13th July

The inside ball

Saturday 4th August

Barba’s cut
The inside ball

Has there been a more naturally gifted attacking rugby league player? Matthew Bowen… Benji Marshall… Billy Slater… Greg Inglis… no question they’re all superstars – but no-one has ever before shown the ability to turn games on their heads so often and against the odds like Ben Barba has in 2012. The custodian has an unrivalled knack for reading plays; it’s like his mind is functioning five seconds ahead of the clock.

It’s the play that has bamboozled many an opponent. Usually called from a quick play-the-ball on the right edge of the field, hooker Cameron Smith will fire a ball wide to Cooper Cronk on the right who quickly shoots an inside pass – often while looking the other way – to a flying Billy Slater to steam into the gap. It’s a move that all sides are aware of, but stopping it is another thing.

 
 
StormBilly Slater