The Sharks have signed 2012 Dally M Player of the Year Ben Barba on a three-year deal.
Barba was granted a release from the Brisbane Broncos from the final two years of his contract, opening the way for his transfer to the Sharks.
A player of exceptional talent, emphasised by his NRL player of the year award in 2012, Barba will be a valuable addition to Shane Flanagan’s backline at the Sharks from 2015.
“I’m sure Sharks fans will be really excited about watching Benny play,” Flanagan began. “He has flair, x-factor and try scoring ability, but it’s not just about the tries he scores, it’s the tries he creates and the opportunities he provides for others.
“Our attack is an area we need to improve, I’ve focused a lot of my recruitment around that and Benny fits perfectly into the team I’m trying to build.”
Away from the field Flanagan was also confident he had a player who would fit comfortably into the new culture the Sharks are looking to build at the club in 2015 and into the future.
“The playing group here at the Sharks is extremely family orientated and with new arrival of Ben’s third daughter Blaise last week he will have plenty of support around him and his family,” Flanagan added.
After completing negotiations and signing his new contract earlier today, Barba said he was looking forward to striking up different combinations within the Sharks playing group and he believes he can assist the Sharks push into the final series in 2015.
“I realise I am a professional sportsman and must go where the work is to support and provide for my young family and although it is unfortunate I have had to leave the Brisbane Broncos after just one year, I am grateful to Shane and the Sharks Board for providing me with this opportunity to join their club,” Barba said
“I believe the Sharks have a quality squad and I look forward to playing alongside Captain Paul Gallen and former Bulldogs team mate Mick Ennis down at Remondis Stadium from next season.”
After making his debut in the NRL as a teenager back in 2008, Barba would play 97 NRL games for the Bulldogs over six seasons, before making the move to the Broncos. Switching between fullback and five eighth at the Brisbane club, Barba played all 25 NRL games for the Broncos in 2014.
In his 122 NRL games Barba has crossed for 80 tries for an impressive try-scoring strike rate.
Barba returned to Brisbane after meeting with the Sharks over the weekend and will now make plans for his relocation to Sydney. He is expected to begin training with the Sharks within the next seven days.
The Sharks hope to announce more signing news in the coming weeks, however the addition of Barba complements the earlier acquisition of experienced hooker Michael Ennis and the crop of quality returning players which includes Gallen, Luke Lewis, Andrew Fifita, Michael Gordon and Wade Graham, making for a formidable NRL roster in 2015.