Super League close door on a Barba return
Ben Barba is seen at a North Queensland Cowboys pre-season training session held at the Townsville Sports Reserve in Townsville, Monday, November 12, 2018. (AAP Image/Michael Chambers)
Ben Barba's rugby league career is almost certainly over after the English RFL confirmed it would respect any ban issued against him by the NRL.
Barba was sacked by North Queensland Cowboys last week after club officials viewed CCTV footage of an incident at a Townsville casino over the Australia Day weekend.
He is alleged to have assaulted his partner and mother of his four children, Ainslie Currie, and is being investigated by police.
NRL chief Todd Greenberg said on Sunday he would refuse to register any future contract if Barba was found guilty.
"If you're violent against a woman you can expect to be removed from the game. It starts now," Greenberg said.
"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 NRL in 2016 after recording his second illicit drugs strike following Cronulla's grand final win.
He subsequently moved to French rugby before embarking on successful stint with St Helens where he rejuvenated his career in a magnificent 2018 season that culminated in him being crowned Super League's Man of Steel.
That form didn't go unnoticed in the NRL and St Helens reluctantly granted his wish to be released from the final year of his contract so he could take up the lifeline offered to him by the Cowboys.
However, the RFL have confirmed it would also enforce any punishment meted out by the NRL.
"We will always uphold any ban imposed by the NRL under a reciprocal agreement between RFL and the NRL," a statement read.
"Independent to that arrangement, the RFL Board has the right to refuse registration to any player - and would also consult with the Super League in that process.
"We are bound to follow that process - but if the facts of this case turn out to be as reported, the RFL would condemn them as deplorable."
© AAP 2019