SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 06: Ben Barba of the Sharks watches on during the round 13 NRL match between the Canterbury Bulldogs and the Cronulla Sharks at ANZ Stadium on June 6, 2016 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

St Helens great Jon Wilkin says he expects England's Football League (RFL) to soften its attitude towards Ben Barba and offer him a lifeline in the Super League.

The 29-year old was sacked by North Queensland and received a lifetime ban following a physical altercation with his partner Ainslie Currie in a Townsville casino.

Wilkin admitted he felt sick to the stomach when he heard about the incident and the decisions that followed which included the RFL choosing to respect the NRL's life ban decision.

However, Wilkin, who played with Barba last year, believes the league's previous soft approach to serial offenders and lack of representative level talent in the UK game will one day see him return.

"There is no precedent set over here by the RFL (about banning players)," Wilkin told the BBC Rugby league podcast.

"Over here we are not as aggressive as the NRL with policing player's code of conduct.

"There are a lot of second chances handed out and players don't realise how lucky they are.

Former Penrith winger Zak Hardaker and former Eels member Gareth Hock were two players who had come into contact with the law in Australia and were still offered contracts over in the UK.

Ex-Cowboys hooker Scott Moore was welcomed back with open arms by second-tier club Rochdale after his release from prison following an assault on three police officers.




  1. Well if you bloke let him play in England you can bet your bottom dollar that he wont hit another man but he will belt the crap out of your woman. Good Luck. But isn’t it funny how all the convicts get sent to the cold hole of England for punishment.

    The English have always been a bit slow between the ears. When they discovered Australia had no organised towns and cities civilisation they sent the convicts out to Australia to build it up. What they should of done if they had any brains was move the English population permanently out here to this great continent and left the convicts there. Us Aussies have got it perfected💪🤣👍🎯.

  2. Sadly I think Jon is talking from little knowledge. He saw Barba when during a pretty clean year (by all accounts) in the UK. He probably knows little of his previous offending and exactly how out of control he is with booze inside him. The Superleague does not seem to have as many problems as we do with bad behaviour nor are they as prominent in the press (therefore less damaging to the sport). However the Superleague administrators are no mugs and are likely to consult with Todd before making any decisions re Barba. I don’t think his path back to Superleague will be as easy as Jon thinks.

  3. Here is a tip, when publishing articles on players, how about using an image of the player wearing the jersey of their current club? Think it is pretty poor form to continue to use images of Barba in a Sharks jersey when he is no longer their player. Yes, he played for them, but he also played for Bulldogs and Brisbane. With saying that, he should not be shown for articles sake in their jerseys either.
    There are images of him in Cowboys gear, use that as that was the club he was contracted to during his last stuff up.

  4. They’d look pretty stupid giving him another start after making a public commitment to the NRL to back up their decision.
    Obviously a silly remark from a lone player who has been in HIA corner one too many times.

  5. Its pretty rampant Common. I have seen images of him in Cronulla gear in the Australian, English and New Zealand press in recent weeks and only one image of him in a Doggies shirt on zero tackle. The fact that they so consistently show him in a sharkies shirt tells you an awful lot about the sharkies as a club.

  6. I wouldn’t describe Jon Wilkin as a muppet, he would be similar in standing in the UK as someone like Darren Lockyer is here. I just think that he isn’t fully informed.

  7. Well for someone of similar standing to Darren Lockyer, that’s a very ordinary comment in my opinion and I don’t see anyone else jumping in to support him

  8. I agree its a pretty dumb comment. He isn’t the only one though, Brian Carney, a league presenter over there, is saying similar things. I think they don’t realise the size of it.

  9. souffs might pick him up. They have gone on a massive transit lounge spending spree buying eight imports, one more wife beater to play alongside the other who also is a drink driving speedster shouldn’t put off the smelly ol rabbits😆🤣😁😂—💪🐔👍

  10. I think you are missing the point here who cares what Club this guy played for.
    If you think putting a picture on Banba in a Sharks jersey isn’t fair then I think again you miss the whole put no one cares that he played for the Sharks. Grow up.

  11. With apologies to Johnny Mac: “Man, he cannot be serious!”.
    Anyway, my understanding is that because Barba is banned by the NRL his ban also takes effect in the English SL, so it doesn’t matter what Wilkin thinks.

  12. inferno, it you that is missing the point here. There is subliminal messaging going on here which is detrimental to the sharks as a club (not blaming ZT here). Its message to big corporate sponsors is “Hey you really want to put your logo on this shirt and have it plastered all over the media every time there is negative NRL article”. Is it any wonder that the sharks can’t get shirt sponsors ?
    I am about as far away from being a sharks fan as you can get and if the sharks went bust tomorrow then I wouldn’t shed a tear but I hate the ways that corporate bodies including the media manipulate all of us these days.

  13. Superleague would be a farce to allow him to play. Isn’t there a world RL organisation that could make this a global ban.

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