Ben Barba says it was a huge relief getting Friday’s round one NRL clash against former club Canterbury out of the way.
Ben Barba admitted it was a relief to get his return to Canterbury out of the way in round one of the NRL season, allowing him to now focus on recapturing his Dally M Medal-winning form in Brisbane colours.
Barba showed flashes of brilliance against the Bulldogs on Friday as the Broncos spent most of the second half on the back foot successfully holding out Des Hasler’s side to win 18-12.
The diminutive fullback’s first touch was predictably jeered by the home crowd, but they were quickly silenced when their former idol gathered the ball, stepped and shimmied past Frank Pritchard then raced upfield to the halfway line.
He was the the architect of Brisbane’s opening try when he produced a beautifully-weighted grubber kick that sat up perfectly for Dale Copley to race to the line.
Barba said it was the perfect way to calm any butterflies he had going into the game against the team he left in fairly acrimonious circumstances at the end of last year.
“That helped me a long with my nerves to get that good touch in early and get the ball in my hands,” Barba said.
“I thought that in the first half I did a few good things.
“I sort of went quiet in the second half but it was my first game of football in quite a while so I just wanted to get in there and get the metres in my legs for a full 80 minutes.
“I was pretty nervous. I’m just happy we got the win and we can move on from there.”
It was a second successive disappointing crowd at ANZ Stadium following the poor turn out 24 hours earlier for the South Sydney against Sydney Roosters clash, and Barba said he had do his best to ignore the abuse being hurled at him from the fans who once worshipped him.
“There were a few profanities thrown around,” he said.
“But it just went in one ear and out the other. I enjoyed listening to the Broncos fans with the good chant.”
However, he said there was little chat aimed in his direction from his former teammates.
“It was pretty quiet. There wasn’t much sledging going on. There was none at all, really,” he said.