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Barba now 'free' of football and hopes to put public nuisance charges behind him

ABC News logo ABC News 22/03/2019

Former NRL player Ben Barba leaves Townsville court. © AAP Image/Michael Chambers Former NRL player Ben Barba leaves Townsville court. Banned rugby league player Ben Barba said he just wants to get on with his life and put public nuisance charges behind him after the incident that ended his rugby league career.

Barba he said he was now unlikely to rejoin the NRL.

The 29-year-old was charged with two counts of public nuisance following an incident at a Townsville Casino in January.

He was training with the North Queensland Cowboys at the time, but the incident prompted the club to sack him and the NRL handed him a lifetime ban.

NRL chief executive Todd Greenberg has said he did not see any time in the future when Barba would play rugby league in Australia again.

Speaking outside Townsville Magistrates Court on Friday morning, Barba said he hoped he could move on once the matter was heard again in April.

"It will be good to just get on with my life," Barba said.

"I've obviously copped what I've got, so the only [thing] I can do is move on and get on with my life and I guess just be a regular human being and enjoy my job."

The matter has been adjourned to heard at Mackay Magistrates Court on April 16.

Barba's lawyer Campbell MacCallum said he would enter a guilty plea.

Mr MacCallum requested the matter be heard in Mackay because Barba was living and working there, making it more "convenient" and "cost effective".

'I've never felt so free'

Earlier this month, when he turned himself in at the Mackay Police Station, Barba had an altercation with a Nine News reporter.

Barba said he had been trying to keep his children away from the matter.

"I lost my cool there a few days ago when people were following them around," Barba said.

"I'll do anything for my kids, so I probably acted in the wrong way but that's the lengths I will go to, to protect my children."

Barba said he would probably not rejoin the NRL.

"As bad as the situation is, I've never felt so free that I can sort of get on with my life without the pressure of footy," Barba said.

"Hopefully I will be allowed to play locally eventually and go from there."

Barba's partner was waiting outside Townsville Magistrates Court to pick him up.

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