Ben Barba has revealed he was close to pulling the plug on his NRL career earlier in the year.
While he is entrenched in the race for the Dally M and has been a major force behind Cronulla’s push for a maiden title, the livewire fullback admits there was a time he questioned whether he should play on.
Barba flew back home to Mackay in Queensland following an argument with his then-pregnant wife after a drinking session, prompting concerns from the club about his welfare.
He pondered his place in the game but was brought around after reaching out to his family, friends and the club’s welfare staff.
He says having the strength to ask for help proved a turning point and hasn’t looked back.
“There was a time when I was losing focus on what I was doing right at the start of the year and was starting to slip,” he recalled on Wednesday.
“I’m glad I nipped that in the bud pretty quick and was able to get straight back into it and continue playing football.”
Barba has endured a rocky road put seems to have found peace at the Sharks.
His Dally M win in 2012 and subsequent form slump which lasted several seasons, controversial exit from Canterbury and public battles with alcohol and gambling have resulted in the limelight being trained firmly on him.
Barba, now 26, admits to being embarrassed by his past indiscretions and how much he took things for granted.
“I look back on things I’ve done in the past and think what an idiot I was,” he said.
“And it still burns me today that I’ve done the things I’ve done.
“You can only learn from your mistakes.
“As I’ve said I’m not perfect and there’s always going to be a mistake here and there but it’s about where you go to from there.”