Cowboys culture would suit Barba, says Green
Cowboys coach Paul Green says a strong culture at the Cowboys would be able to keep former Sharks fullback Ben Barba on the right path if he were to return to the NRL with North Queensland.
The formerly troubled Barba has been on fire for St Helens in the UK Super League since departing the NRL due to a second strike for recreational drugs early last year.
Barba is understood to be close to inking a deal with the Cowboys, though Green would neither confirm nor deny a deal was done when addressing media on Friday morning.
"I think we've got a pretty strong group up here and he wants to play for the club if we were to get to that point," Green said.
"Anyone that pulls on the jersey has got to buy into our culture and I'm sure he will if we get to that point.
"I think he's had a pretty good year in the Super League so you can only go on what you can go on and he's done everything asked of him over there."
Barba, who grew up in Mackay, is favoured to win the Super League Man of Steel award for the competition's best player. He would add some much-needed spark to a Cowboys backline that has cycled through Lachlan Coote, Ben Hampton and Te Maire Martin at fullback this year with varying degrees of success.
Another player being looked at by the club is in-form Sharks fullback and Townsville product Valentine Holmes, although it is understood the Sharks are unwilling to release the Queensland and Australian representative.
"At this stage fullback is a position we're looking at, so we're looking at a number of possibilities," Green added.
"Ben obviously is a great player so if we could work something out there it would be good but as I said it's a position we need to look at."
While he is undoubtedly a talent on the field, Ben Barba has had his fair share of problems off the field as well.
At the end of 2016 Barba tested positive for cocaine, resulting in a 12-week mandatory suspension for a second strike for recreational drug use before being granted an immediate release by the Sharks to deal with his off-field issues.
Despite this Green is confident that Barba can fit in with the culture of the Cowboys, and that his success in the Super League is proof that his off-field attitude has improved.