Brisbane Broncos to offer four-year deal for Canterbury Bulldogs fullback Ben Barba

Peter Badel  : The Daily  Telegraph

BRISBANE are prepared to pay compensation to the Bulldogs as part of a severance package that will deliver Ben Barba to the Broncos until the end of 2017.
The Sunday Mail can reveal the Broncos will table a four-year deal for Barba, who is awaiting a formal clearance from Canterbury hierarchy after his management requested a release a fortnight ago.
Des Hasler stands as the final impediment to Barba’s contract being rescinded, but it is understood the Bulldogs coach will not stop the Dally M Medallist joining the Broncos next season.

Ben Barba. Getty Images
While Hasler was hopeful of securing a Plan B signing such as Israel Folau, Bulldogs sources said the coach will put Barba’s family needs ahead of the club’s recruitment pursuits.
Broncos boss Paul White and Canterbury counterpart Raelene Castle have had informal discussions about Barba. The Bulldogs have yet to formally ask for a transfer fee, but the Broncos expect that to occur and will duly compensate Canterbury for Barba’s early release.

The fight for Barba’s services intensified Saturrday, with his manager Gavin Orr confirming Brisbane’s Queensland rivals - the Titans and Cowboys - had expressed interest in the 24-year-old.
But, privately, the Broncos are confident they will get their man.
Barba has officially ruled out a move to North Queensland. And while the Gold Coast is a consideration for Barba, whose ex-partner Ainslie Currie is moving to Brisbane with their two daughters, his signing with the Broncos appears a fait accomplice.

Orr said Saturday night he had spoken to the Broncos about Barba’s situation and outlined his preference to play for Brisbane.
The Sunday Mail can also reveal the Broncos plan to deploy Barba at fullback in 2014, despite the magnificent form of Josh Hoffman, who was man-of-the-match in Brisbane’s 22-12 defeat of the Eels on Friday night.
“My gut feel is the Bulldogs will release him,” Orr said.
“When Ben sat out earlier this season (due to personal issues), Todd Greenberg (recently-departed Bulldogs CEO) stood up and talked about the person’s welfare being bigger than the club.
“Based on that, I would hope they sympathise with Ben’s circumstances and let him go.
“I don’t know how long it will take (to obtain a release), but hopefully I will hear something next week.
“I don’t need to know whether there will be a compensation component. That’s for the Broncos and Bulldogs to work out but it won’t affect Ben’s personal situation.”
Brisbane’s impending signing of Barba is a huge coup for the club. The Broncos have been pilloried for their recruitment methodology, but they have snared Maroons front-row hopeful Martin Kennedy from the Roosters and are likely to have Barba and Canberra sensation Anthony Milford on their books next season.
Orr said the Broncos would face competition from rival clubs for Barba’s signature.
“Everyone says Ben will join the Broncos because they are closest to where Ainslie wants to settle, but the Titans are not far away,” he said.
“Ben first needs to get a release from the Bulldogs and then we will talk to all interested parties.
“I’ve had a chat with the Broncos about the prospect of Ben getting a release. I’ve also spoken to the Titans and both suggested they would be interested once that happens.
“The Cowboys have also expressed an interest but Ben doesn’t want to move that far . his preference is Brisbane.”

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