The ultimate payback

Ben Barba was close to walking away from the game.

He was in a dark place and he knew there was one thing that could get him back to his best: Rugby League.

After playing for the Canterbury Bulldogs and then the Brisbane Broncos, Barba arrived at the Sharks with no certainty of a starting position.

It was during these days that the 2012 Dally M Medallist thought about giving the game he loved so dearly away.

“Look, I thought I was gone,” said Barba.

“I contemplated walking away and I knew I wasn’t playing to my potential but full credit to these little girls that I’ve got behind me and my other two with my partner Ainslie.”

However, it was the love of his family and his new found Club who rallied around him and brought out the best in him.

“The family and the Club were sticking behind me even after last year and believing in me and giving me the chance to start and I’m just so happy I can pay them back with one of these (Premiership ring) tonight.”

Breaking the Club’s Premiership winning drought, Barba also paid tribute to the Cronulla Sharks fans who had been waiting 49 years for that elusive title.

“I’m so glad we could do this. All of these people have waited so long for this to happen and I’m glad we could deliver it tonight.”

It was certainly a night to remember for Sharks fans young and old and Ben Barba will certainly go down in history as one of the great fullbacks to pull on the black white and blue.