North Queensland recruit Ben Barba has been sacked by the Cowboys over an incident at a Townsville casino.
An NRL spokesperson confirmed to foxsports.com.au on Friday night that the club advised the NRL Integrity Unit they were looking into a matter involving Barba.
The Cowboys issued a statement shortly after where they confirmed Barba’s contract had been terminated immediately.
“Today, North Queensland Cowboys terminated the playing contract of Ben Barba due to a significant breach of the terms of his contract,” the statement read.
Cowboys chairman Laurence Lancini stated: “When a player joins the North Queensland Cowboys he agrees to abide by the terms of the contract.
“After an internal investigation, it has been determined that this player has acted in contradiction to both the terms and the spirit of that agreement.
“Accordingly, the club has terminated his contract and has informed the NRL’s Integrity Unit.”
This extraordinary development comes just hours after rugby league legend Laurie Daley urged Barba to put his three-year NRL exile behind him and make the most of his career lifeline.
Barba was due to make his first appearance in Australia since the 2016 grand final after he was picked for the Indigenous All Stars’ clash with the Maori All Stars on February 15 in Melbourne.
The 29-year-old’s career is now almost certainly over, having spent the past three years abroad after his second illicit drugs strike following the Sharks’ premiership win.
He was banished to Europe where he had stints in French rugby and Super League.
“He’s played well over there in the English Super League and, by all reports, he’s training the house down up there in North Queensland,” Daley said.
“It’s a big game for a lot of people and also Benny because he can come back and put the stuff that happened to him behind him and pull on the shirt and represent his family and his culture.
“And show that if you do make a mistake, there’s always a chance to bounce back.”
Published by John Dean, 1st February 2019 on foxsports.com.au