Ben Barba's rugby league career is almost certainly over after the English Rugby Football League (RFL) confirmed it would respect any ban issued against him by the Nationa Rugby league (NRL).
Barba is alleged to have assaulted his partner in an incident that took place at a Towsnville casino over the Australia Day weekend. The police are investigating the incident, whilst club officials at North Queensland Cowboys decided to terminate his contract due to a “significant breach of terms”.
The former St Helens player was already on his last chance after being forced out of the NRL in 2016 for his second illicit drugs strike following Cronulla's grand final win. Barba subsequently signed for French rugby union side Toulon in February 2017 in a controversial move that saw him escape being sanctioned because the suspension only applied to rugby league. He was released early from his successful spell at St Helens, so he could take up the lifeline offered to him by the Cowboys.
The 29-year-old is likely to be banned for life by the NRL after CEO Todd Greenberg commented he “would refuse to register any future contract if Barba was found guilty”. An RFL statement said: "We will always uphold any ban imposed by the NRL (subject to the right of appeal to our own operational rules tribunal), under a reciprocal agreement between the RFL and the NRL.