Manly wing Jorge Taufua has taken living in the football bubble to a new level, claiming he wasn't aware Bulldogs fullback Ben Barba made his long-awaited return to the NRL.
Taufua's Sea Eagles take on Barba's Bulldogs at ANZ Stadium on Friday night, with several Manly players admitting some of the hype has gone out of the match-up a year on from coach Des Hasler's switch of clubs.
Barba made his 2013 debut against South Sydney on Good Friday after being stood down by the club to deal with a range of off-field issues.
Asked about the prospect of Barba being better for his run against the Rabbitohs, Taufua said: "I didn't even know he was back. I guess so."
He was also unaware of Bulldogs centre Krisnan Inu's likely unavailability over the dangerous throw he committed against Rabbitohs fullback Greg Inglis.
Taufua said he didn't read much press about football or even watch many games "unless a couple of my friends are playing".
But he said the intrigue of coming up against former coach Hasler was nowhere near the level of last year's drama-filled return of the two-time premiership-winning coach to Brookvale Oval. "Not really, not as much as last year. The hype's gone down a bit."