All Stars the spark Barba needs

On the back of his Dally M-winning season in 2012, Ben Barba's awe-inspiring display in the 2013 Harvey Norman Rugby League All Stars game unequivocally answered the question of whether he could recapture that type of form year after year.

He scored three tries and embodied exactly the player who had taken the competition by storm the previous season, week after week producing a personal highlights reel that few players in the game's history could hope to match.

And then it stopped.

As brilliantly as this flame was first struck it wasn't even granted the time to burn out of its own volition, instead hastily extinguished by off-field controversies and personal crises that had the doubly debilitating effect of clouding his mind and slowing his feet.

Two years on and preparing to start an NRL season with a new club for the second consecutive year, Barba's selection in the Indigenous All Stars team for the fourth time could be the catalyst for what reignites his career.

Indigenous All Stars assistant coach Wendell Sailor has worked closely with Barba in previous All Stars camps and believes his combination with captain Johnathan Thurston in the halves could be the perfect tonic for his return to form.

"I like Ben Barba in the halves there with Thurston and hopefully that can spark Benny Barba to how he was a couple of years ago when he was man of the match," said Sailor.

"He hasn't probably reached those heights since. A couple of times it looks like he's getting there and getting there but he hasn't been able to unleash.

"I always have a talk to Benny and he's got some good people around him now and I'm pretty sure once he gets into camp he'll do a good job. He enjoys it, he feels like he belongs there and hopefully we can get that Benny Barba magic back. But he doesn't need me talking to him too much because when he plays, he's hard to stop.

"We all make mistakes, it's how you bounce back. I think about when I finished my career off back in 2010, a couple of years before that I wasn't liked that much and then you have to come back and earn that respect. So if you earn it, you play well.

"He's doing all the right things in the community, I think he's just had his third kid, you just never know where it leads."

Like Barba, Josh Hoffman had a season at the Broncos last year that he'd prefer to forget and is now out to re-establish himself as an NRL fullback at the Gold Coast Titans.

The irony that their first competitive game of the year will be against the coach who cut them both adrift won't be lost on either man but Hoffman said he is eager to mark his fresh start with a memorable All Stars debut and put 2014 behind him.

"It wasn't a great season for both of us last year so it gives us the chance this year to open up 2015 with an exciting time ahead," Hoffman said.

"[Joining the Titans] does allow me to get a fresh start and hopefully I can do that this year and play some consistent footy and injury free season.

"For himself as well consistency is a big part of the game and if he starts playing some consistent footy and he finds his confidence it won't be long until he is out in open space.

"I talk to him now and again and he seems happy and his family's happy and that's all that matters I guess. The main thing as an individual is that you are happy and the footy will come."