Former NRL star Ben Barba. Picture: Alix Sweeney
Former NRL star Ben Barba. Picture: Alix Sweeney

Barba expected to front court

FORMER NRL star Ben Barba is expected to appear in court on Tuesday on public nuisance offences following an incident at a Townsville Casino in January that cost him a lucrative deal with the North Queensland Cowboys.

Barba will be required to appear in Mackay Magistrates Court after failing to present himself to the court on Monday.

The Courier-Mail reports the arrest warrant is on file, but will only be served if the former Broncos and Bulldogs star fails to attend the court at 11am (AEST) on Tuesday.

Channel 9 reported on Monday night that Barba had failed to appear in court because his lawyer Campbell MacCallum was unable to catch the flight he needed to make it to Mackay for the scheduled appearance.

Barba, 29, was sacked by the Cowboys in February without playing a game, following allegations he had been violent towards his partner, Ainslie Currie, in the Australia Day incident.

Ms Currie did not press charges.

The 2012 Dally M medallist had been offered a lifeline to return to the NRL with the Cowboys after stints with French rugby union and the English Super League.

However, the NRL gave the father of four a lifetime ban after viewing CCTV footage of the incident outside the casino.

Police allege Barba threw rocks at Currie, who is the mother of their four children.

Former North Queensland Cowboy Ben Barba is now playing soccer.
Former North Queensland Cowboy Ben Barba is now playing soccer.

The incident resulted in the Cowboys ripping up Barba's contract, reportedly worth $300,000 for the 2019 season. The NRL then deregistered him in a move that prohibited any rival clubs from trying to sign the speedster.

NRL boss Todd Greenberg said at the time the game would refuse to register any future contract of Barba's if he was found guilty.

"We have run out of patience and tolerance for misbehaviour off the field," Greenberg said in February.

"Violence against women is the very top of that list. If you're violent against a woman you can expect to be removed from the game. It starts now.

"The Cowboys have acted quickly and decisively to terminate Ben Barba's contract. That's a club showing the leadership that's required.

"I haven't seen the footage as yet but if it shows violence towards a woman then really there's no debate. Ben Barba will be out of the NRL immediately and I can't see him ever returning."

The 29-year-old was already on his last chance after being forced out of the game in 2016 after recording his second illicit drugs strike following Cronulla's premiership win.

He is now playing football with the Mackay Rangers in the Mackay Premier League.