NRL: Barba will stick with Bulldogs

Ben Barba. Photo / Getty Images
Ben Barba. Photo / Getty Images

Canterbury fullback Ben Barba says it will take time for his teammates to forgive him but denies he has created a permanent rift with some of his fellow players.

Barba missed the opening three NRL rounds after being stood down to deal with problems associated with heavy drinking and gambling.

While describing talk that some players and even their partners had issues with him as "ridiculous" he admitted it would be a while before everyone at the Bulldogs was in his corner again.

"I'm sure a lot of them were let down," Barba told Channel Nine.

"I've had a bit of trouble over the past year at the club.

"There were a lot (of players) there who were pretty disappointed especially after the year I had last year and the way I went about things.

"To put that on them so early, so close to the start of the season, I'm sure a lot of them still feel disappointed and my first day out I told them I know personally that it won't happen overnight, that they are going to forgive me.

"I know in a few weeks, months they will finally forgive me for what I did to the team at the start of the season."

Barba spent time in a northern beaches health clinic before being ushered back into the Bulldogs side for their round-four clash with South Sydney.

Since his return, the Bulldogs have lost three straight games - with last year's Dally M medal winner lacking the dynamism which shot him to fame in 2012.

Talk of disharmony in the Bulldogs camp has lingered all season, but their dismal 1-5 start has only heightened suggestions of a rift in the team.

Barba said the penny finally dropped about his issues during a pre-season game in Goulburn.

"The only thing in my mind wasn't the game or what happened but what was happening with my partner and my kids and what they were doing and all that sort of stuff," said Barba, who had split with the mother his children.

"Not one bit was I thinking about the game and I knew there and then that I was letting my teammates down if I didn't get help."

Barba admitted that when he was feeling down "the only way of escaping was drinking alcohol or gambling at an excess amount."

He said he had thought about dropping out of the clinic but was talked around by Bulldogs coach Des Hasler, who supported him all the way through.

Barba also scotched talk about a potential move to Brisbane, who last month abruptly ended negotiations with former Canberra fullback Josh Dugan.

The 23-year-old, under contract for a further three years, said he had no intention of leaving Canterbury.

"I've got a long-term deal here at the club. I don't think I'm going anywhere anytime soon," he said.

"It's not true. I'm not too sure where all that's coming from."

-AAP

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