Ben Barba. NRL; North Queensland Cowboys pre-season training at Townsville Sports Reserve.
Ben Barba. NRL; North Queensland Cowboys pre-season training at Townsville Sports Reserve.

Inside Ben Barba’s Australia Day disgrace

Moments after Ben Barba allegedly assaulted his partner on Australia Day at Townsville casino the pair shared a taxi home.

Barba and his long-time partner Ainslie Currie, the mother of his four daughters, had spent more than seven hours at the venue with several Cowboys players and partners. Teammates Justin O'Neill and Te Maire Martin were in their company for much of the afternoon before the alleged incident that forced the Cowboys to terminate Barba's contract on Friday.

The Sunday Telegraph understands police and the NRL integrity unit will investigate three separate ­alleged incidents involving the couple:

A heated verbal exchange and swearing in the swimming pool area in front of hotel guests, several Cowboys players and their partners.

An alleged physical clash soon afterwards inside the casino that was caught on CCTV footage and viewed by Cowboys officials before he was sacked.

Another alleged clash in the carpark before getting into a taxi.

Barba was sacked before he played a game for North Queensland.
Barba was sacked before he played a game for North Queensland.

Barba had been drinking for at least seven hours with other Australia Day revellers before the alleged assault.

Cowboys players O'Neill and Martin have told officials they did not witness the alleged physical assault. They have been praised for helping the pair get a taxi home around 8.30pm.

Despite their alleged altercation, Barba and Currie remain together and they were spotted having lunch the next day with their young family. The Cowboys were shocked when ­informed of what had happened on Monday. Barba trained with the side on Tuesday in what would be his final session.

"He'd settled in really well, he was popular with the players and had been outstanding at training," coach Paul Green said. "He seemed happy in his new environment and everything was going well. There were absolutely no signs of any issues."

The former Dally M winner is no stranger to off-field trouble. AAP Image/Michael Chambers.
The former Dally M winner is no stranger to off-field trouble. AAP Image/Michael Chambers.

Barba is now facing a life ban from the sport. The 29-year-old was ­accused of striking Currie and leaving her with a bloodied face at the Canterbury Bulldogs in 2013. He was never charged. In 2016 he was banned for 12 weeks by the NRL for testing positive to cocaine for a second time.

NRL independent commission boss Peter Beattie has praised the Cowboys' handling of the issue.

"They should be strongly supported for moving swiftly to sack Ben Barba," he said. "Barba does not have an NRL contract now and I would be stunned if any club offered him one. This means he is not playing in the NRL. His football career is over."

Every game of every round of the NRL Telstra Premiership LIVE with no ad-breaks during play. SIGN UP NOW!

News Corp Australia


YOUR VOTE: Warwick’s top trendsetter revealed

Premium Content YOUR VOTE: Warwick’s top trendsetter revealed

The winner shares her top tricks and tricks for elegance and style, no matter the...

Woman charged with child murder remains in custody

Premium Content Woman charged with child murder remains in custody

The Warwick woman is accused of killing a 2yo boy she was babysitting.

BY THE NUMBERS: Campaign bringing dignity to women

Premium Content BY THE NUMBERS: Campaign bringing dignity to women

A breakdown of how the lives of Warwick women and girls are being changed through...