NRL: Ben Barba charged by police over casino incident, will fight ban

Ben Barba will fight to overturn an NRL lifetime ban, despite being charged by Queensland police on Tuesday.

The fallen NRL star presented himself to Mackay police and was charged with two counts of public nuisance over an Australia Day weekend incident at the Townsville casino.

The former Dally M medallist will appear in Townsville Magistrates Court on March 22.

Barba reportedly will not face domestic violence-related charges, because partner Ainslie Currie has not made a complaint.

Last month, Barba was sacked by NRL club North Queensland, without playing a game for the club, over allegations he was violent towards Currie in the incident.

The NRL gave Barba a lifetime ban, after viewing CCTV footage of the incident.

But on Tuesday, Barba's lawyer Campbell MacCallum claimed he would now attempt to have the ban overturned.

"He's expressed his desire to play football this year," MacCallum told reporters.

"He wants to explore his options in relation to challenging the NRL ban and hopefully play rugby league in some sort of capacity.

"I don't think he'd play NRL, but certainly local football and that's going to help his focus.

"He's feeling the pressure of the media on him - he's also feeling the pressure of not being able to play the game that he loves.

"It's certainly pretty distressing for himself and a trying time for his family."

Barba was charged a day after telling a television news crew he had "lost everything" and threatened to "hurt" the reporter.

North Queensland coach Paul Green said Cowboys welfare officers would keep in touch with Barba.

"Our welfare guys continue to stay in contact with Ben," he said. "The club will continue to support him however we can."

Green was not as expansive, when told Barba intended to fight the NRL ban.

Asked if Barba should be allowed to play again, Green said: "It's probably not for me to comment."

Besides the two charges, on Tuesday, Queensland Police also banned Barba from entering Townsville's entertainment precinct for three months.

After winning a premiership with Cronulla in 2016, the star fullback copped a 12-game NRL ban for testing positive to cocaine for a second time.

He left for stints in French rugby union and the English Super League, before being offered a lifeline by the Cowboys, only to be sacked on February 1 after the casino incident.


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