Barba's step in right direction
Livewire Cronulla utility Ben Barba wants to be the club's fullback moving forward but believes it's a matter of maintaining his own self-confidence.
Speaking on Tuesday following his game-changing performance against the Knights where he set up one try and scored another from the interchange bench, the 2012 Dally M Medallist said he did receive a confidence boost but it's now a matter of consistency.
With Michael Gordon, Valentine Holmes and Sosaia Feki looking likely to hold their spots in the Sharks' back three and with Barba being a late inclusion for captain Paul Gallen last weekend, the 26-year-old is happy to keep doing the best he can from the interchange for the time-being, though outlined fullback as his preferred position.
"Everyone is fit, healthy and raring to go. If that means coming off the bench then I'll put my hand up and keep doing that and keep injecting myself when I get the chance to come on," Barba said.
"But I definitely see myself as a fullback here and with 'Flash' [Gordon] going next year I'd like to make that spot here mine over the next few seasons."
"It's a matter of getting my confidence back and start playing some good football. I know what I'm capable of and a lot of people know what I'm capable of. I probably copped a bit of criticism in the past for not living up to it.
"But I know I can get there and I know I can find it again. I have to work hard because my job at the moment is coming off the bench if that's a stepping stone to where I want to be then I'll keep doing it."
Asked about his troubles with self-confidence, Barba said it was a matter of immersing himself within the positive environment around the club.
A player who reads into external opinions of his performance, Barba said he hadn't lived up to his contract worth, rumoured to be upwards of $800,000 per season, though insisted his own high standards will see him grow as a player.
"Football, when you're obviously not the best player on the field, you tend to read and listen to different people – which rocks you a bit. I'm someone who struggles with that sort of thing and I'm still trying to learn to deal with that sort of stuff," Barba said.
"I hold myself to high standards and it's letting me down a little bit when I feel I'm letting the club down but again I have people here reassuring me that I'm not. I haven't hit my straps yet but I have the backing of them that I will."