Ben Barba’s debut is approaching!
He’s set to make his bow against Wigan at the Totally Wicked Stadium on September 1.
We caught up with him to see how much he is looking forward to the clash.
Now the date of your first game has been set, how are you feeling?
I’m a bit nervous more than anything; it’s like I’m debuting again, it’s a big build up. It’s going to be my first rugby league game in 10 months since the Grand Final in Australia so hopefully I don’t forget anything! I’m really excited and, on the other hand, nervous. I’ve always told myself when I feel nervous it means I’m alive, it means I’m normal. They’re good nerves.
Did you ever imagine when you were younger and you started out playing rugby that you would ever be where you are now and doing it as a career?
I always dreamed of it but never dreamt the success of my career. It was always a goal of mine to play in the NRL and for a bit I sort of gave up on it but I was lucky enough to get a chance to debut in 2008 and then obviously, a few years later, go on to win the Dally M medal in 2012 and then the Grand Final last year. It’s pretty special. It’s always been like every game I play is my first, I love the game and I enjoy it. Every game I get to play, especially at this level, is a blessing.
Did you ever aspire to be anyone either in rugby or outside of the sport?
There’s been a few guys I’ve sort of looked up to in my career. I’ve never really told him this but a guy I played with at Canterbury and the Sharks, Michael Ennis. He’s a guy I really looked up to and over the last few years someone I’ve really got to know. Obviously my career has had a lot of ups and downs, and highs and lows, and he’s a guy that I’ve always looked and seen as the perfect man. He’s always switched on, he’s got four kids like myself, presented himself well and never really seemed to do no wrong in my eyes. He was one guy that I really aspired to be like.
Are there any other sports that you watch outside of rugby?
Yeah, I’m a bit sports crazy really so whatever is on at the moment. I’ve just watched the CrossFit Games and I love watching the soccer. I’m an Arsenal fan. I also like Basketball and all those American sports. One that’s quite funny is I like the British Speedway; I always watched it in Australia. I’m going to try and make it a goal of mine to get over to one of the grounds here and watch it. I’ve even thought about buying a bike one day and practise riding one, so yeah I’m a bit crazy in that sense!
What’s the painful injury you’ve ever had?
I’ve only ever had, touch wood, one serious injury and that was my right ankle. It was probably the most painful because I had to have an operation on it. It was sort of bad timing because it was leading into semi-finals and then we had to rush so I could get back. It just so happened that in the Final I did it again which was quite painful at the time. If you ever watch the game and see how I carried on you could see I was in a bit of pain.
Following the Wigan game, you’ve got a dinner with Justin Holbrook, Zeb Taia and Jon Wilkin at the Totally Wicked Stadium on September 5. How are you looking forward to that?
It’s funny because I only found out when I walked into the game a few weeks ago and was like ‘what’s this’ because I saw my face on it at the front desk! I’m looking forward to it. I’m obviously getting up close and personal with the Members and fans and it is something I don’t mind doing especially if they’re asking questions about me. I don’t mind talking about myself and letting them know a bit about who I am. Hopefully we’re coming off a win too so I’m really looking forward to that.
Tickets and information about Ben’s Dinner can be found here.