NRL: Warriors forward Adam Blair praises decision to ban Ben Barba

Warriors forward Adam Blair says the NRL has made the right call in deregistering Ben Barba, after allegations of domestic violence.

The North Queensland Cowboys released the former Dally M Medal winner from his new contract last weekend, before he had played a single minute, after allegations that he assaulted his partner at a Townsville Casino.

After reviewing video footage, NRL CEO Todd Greenberg said Barba wouldn't be allowed back, due to his troubled past, which included previous allegations of domestic violence, along with alcohol and drug issues.

Blair, who was set to face Barba in next week's Māori All-Stars vs Indigenous All-Stars fixture in Melbourne, praised the NRL for drawing a line in the sand.

"We're always conscious here [at the Warriors] about doing the right things, and we're giving the brand and club the right name," he said.

"The NRL has made a stand now and that is the best thing they've done - they've said enough is enough."

Māori All-Stars coach and Warriors assistant Stacey Jones echoed Blair's comments, hoping it would prove a good wake-up call for players.

Māori All-Stars coach and Warriors assistant Stacey Jones.
Māori All-Stars coach and Warriors assistant Stacey Jones. Photo credit: Photosport

"We're all disappointed when these things happen in our game and we'll let the people above take care of it," said Jones.

"It is disappointing, but a reminder to everyone involved in the game - you are a good person, on and off the field.

"The more education we can get into the game, and into the players and everyone involved, the better it will be.

"I think we [Warriors] have got good leadership at the top. Our head coach is reminding players who they are and what the consequences could be."

The Warriors are one of the few clubs that manage to stay out of the spotlight for off-field controversies and Blair says that is due to the team's culture.

Adam Blair is one of the clubs senior players.
Adam Blair is one of the clubs senior players. Photo credit: Photosport

"It is all about our values and culture we live by everyday, so if you're not living up to those things, you're not welcome around here," said Blair.

"It's a learning thing for everyone and we're always conscious of making sure that everyone is doing the right thing, no matter where you are.

"It goes back into everyone buying into everything and that starts from day one. The boys know what's expected of them and so do the new boys, after we spent time together in Rotorua.

"If they're not going to buy in, they're not welcome."

After his second drugs ban in 2016, Barba moved to Europe, where he had a brief rugby union stint in France, before joining the English Super League. He rebuilt his career, winning the 'Man of Steel' award, and was offered a one-year deal by the Cowboys.

But he was sacked after the assault allegations surfaced in the media.

The NRL decision to ban Barba has been widely supported, with the Super League and Australian Rugby Union confirming the 29-year-old was banned from joining their ranks.

Blair added that, depending on the circumstances, players deserved a second chance, if they did something wrong.

The NRL has welcomed back players who have found themselves in trouble, most notably Kiwi Russell Packer, who served a jail sentence for assault, but returned to the competition and is now a member of the Wests Tigers leadership group.

"There is always a place for people to have a second chance," said Blair. "Everyone makes mistakes and when we make them, we're regretful of them.

"When you look back, it is a hard thing to do, but there is always a second chance, if you're willing to work for it.

Blair is one of four Warriors named in the Māori All-Stars squad, alongside Tohu Harris, Gerard Beale and Peta Hiku.


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