Is Ben Barba the NRL X-Factor?
Each team has one player who can turn a game on its head and secure victory with an amazing play, and for the Bulldogs that X-Factor is Ben Barba.
To celebrate the finals, NRL.com has launched a new NRL X-Factors application, where fans can vote on their favourite X-Factor in a head-to-head battle.
Check out the best moments of Barba's NRL career and cast your vote on our new X-Factors page.
1. Round 22, 2008
1. Round 22, 2008
Barba gets his first try in his third NRL game, displaying dazzling acceleration and marvellous footwork in a 50-metre burst to the try-line that turns Cowboys defender Ashley Graham inside and out and clutching at thin air.
2. Round 3, 2010
Barba scores his first career hat-trick of tries – all in the space of 20 minutes and off the interchange bench – as the Bulldogs annihilate the Roosters 60-14. He scores in the 56th, 65th and 77th minutes to announce himself as one of the most dangerous running threats in the modern game.
3. Round 6, 2011
Barba’s now trademark support play is on display as he trails through to accept an offload from team-mate Corey Payne and race 20 metres through the middle of the Eels to seize his side the lead on the stroke of halftime.
4. Round 25, 2011
Barba scores the try of the year against the Knights with a miraculous grounding where he flips over backwards in the air and plants the ball inside the dead-ball line with a portion of his body suspended dead in-goal. Truly amazing, and almost gravity-defying!
5. Round 26, 2011
The very next week Barba dots down for four sparkling four-pointers to grab a share of most tries for the 2011 season alongside Rabbitohs winger Nathan Merritt. The pick was his first in the 32nd minute when he stepped inside cover defender Blake Ferguson near the sideline, then evaded Reece Robinson by darting back to the sideline all in the space of three metres.
6. Round 3, 2012
Barba’s value isn’t confined to attack, as displayed by his incredible try-saving tackle on Warriors fullback Kevin Locke who at face value appeared to have pulled his side level at 22-all when he ‘crossed’ in the left corner with 10 minutes remaining. But no – Barba’s sleight of hand prevailed, with the Bulldog thwarting a potentially match-winning play.
7. Round 5, 2012
Barba at his counter-attacking best: he fields a Titans grubber kick in his in-goal, evades three would-be tacklers his side of the try-line, hits the afterburners and races 65 metres before passing to Josh Morris who scores a 100 metres-plus try. The ’Dogs seize the lead for the first time (18-14) and go on to win 30-20.
8. Round 13, 2012
Barba’s never-say-die tackle on Rabbitohs’ winger Justin Hunt in the 77th minute saves the day for the Bulldogs. The blue and white look destined for defeat when Sam Burgess pierces their line mid-field and offloads to Hunt but Barba forces him into touch by the narrowest margin after the winger dives to ground early.
9. Round 16, 2012
Barba heads home to Mackay to mastermind a defeat of the ladder-leading Storm, contributing a try, three line-breaks and two try assists – including an audacious counter-attack in the 75th minute that ends with him delivering a centre-field kick off the outside of his right boot for Josh Morris to complete yet another candidate for Try of the Year.
10. Round 20, 2012
Barba delivers coach Des Hasler a crucial, morale-boosting win over premiers Manly when, with the game in the balance with the ’Dogs clinging to a two-point lead with just minutes to play, he aims a kick at the uprights, hits his mark, gathers and scores. Sublime stuff.