Brian Carney questions decision to hand Ben Barba lifetime ban

Sky Sports’ Brian Carney has questioned the “mechanics” behind the National Rugby League’s decision to hand former Super League star Ben Barba a lifetime ban.

Barba, the reigning Man of Steel, has been deregistered by the NRL after the game’s integrity unit viewed CCTV footage of an alleged assault on his partner.

The 29-year-old former St Helens full-back, who was the leading try-scorer in Super League in 2018, was sacked by North Queensland Cowboys without playing a game following the alleged incident outside a Townsville casino.

While expressing his disgust at Barba’s alleged actions, Carney has queried the readiness of NRL chief executive Todd Greenberg to ban the player before the official investigation is complete.

He has also questioned the apparent change in approach following the decision to hand fellow NRL player Matthew Lodge a chance to resume his playing career last year having assaulted a man and threatened a family in an incident in New York in 2015.

“I have a problem with the mechanics of the decision making in the NRL, how they came to this decision to give him a lifetime ban,” Carney told Sky Sports News.

“I can read you a quote from 12 months ago where Todd Greenberg didn’t believe in rubbing people out of the game for their lifetime. Look at the Matthew Lodge incident in New York where he terrorised a family and a nine year old child.”

“Greenberg said publically that rugby league is a sport that gives people who have committed grave errors a second chance so my problem is that, while there is still a police investigation into this incident, the NRL have issued a lifetime ban for the first time in the competition’s history.

“They have set a precedent now, pulled it out of nowhere. I believe they have been too reactionary on this and they have been followed by the Super League and the RFL governing bodies.”

Carney added: “I would prefer to see a more patient and calm approach to dealing with this situation, press pause, allow the proper authorities to conduct a full investigation and then make a decision.

“Of course, what he is alleged to have done, I abhor that, it goes without saying, but I have a massive problem with the mechanics of the NRL decision making process.”

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