Written by John Davidson
Ben Barba admits he never should have left Super League side, St Helens, to join NRL club North Queensland at the start of 2019.
Barba was sacked by the Cowboys and kicked out of the NRL last year after assaulting his partner.
The former Bulldogs, Broncos and Sharks fullback resurrected his career in England with an 18-month spell at St Helens, winning the Man of Steel award in 2018.
Barba claims he left Saints because of family reasons but loved his time at the English club.
“I probably should have never ever left,” he told the T.I. Talks Footy program.
“At the time I was enjoying my life over there, my footy was going well.
“We had a great year in 2018…. It was an unbelievable experience.
“The only reason why I came back was because I lost my grandmother during the year.
“St Helens actually offered me to come back [for the funeral] but I knew if I left I probably wouldn’t have ever returned.
“I ended up missing her funeral and I guess that was the breaking point for me to come back home.
“That was the main why I came because I guess I couldn’t go through the pain of that again, losing your family members and not be able to mourn with your family was quite tough for me.”
The 30-year-old signed for North Queensland but was cut by the club without playing a game after the Australia Day incident with his partner was caught by CCTV footage.
“Stuff went on with my partner and I and I did things that weren’t right,” Barba said.
“Obviously stuff that I’m not proud of and stuff that cost me my career.
“At the end of the day, it was no one’s fault but mine.
“I was looking forward to the season, I had worked my arse off at the Cowboys to try and be ready to help provide for the side.
“It was a simple Australia Day party where things went wrong… I just lost my head and made a mistake that cost me everything and brought me back home to Mackay.”
Barba was set to return to rugby league in the Queensland Intrust Super Cup this year, but that fell through in February when he was arrested and charged for allegedly punching his partner’s brother.