Ben Barba has revealed a stomach bug almost kept him from producing yet another dazzling display in Cronulla’s eight-point NRL win over the Wests Tigers on Saturday.
The former Dally M medal winner was complaining of feeling ill on game day, consulting the team doctor before deciding to play.
“It was amazing that I even got to the game,” Barba told AAP.
“I was feeling crook. It just hit me during the day but credit to the boys, they were in my ear telling me I’d get better as I kept warming up.
The 26-year-old went on to continue his stellar form over the opening five rounds, playing a hand in three of his side’s five tries.
He was involved in a try either side of the break, and also crossed for the match-sealer late in the game.
His early-season success has even resulted in the former Canterbury star being mentioned as a bolter for Queensland in this year’s State of Origin.
New Maroons coach Kevin Walters lauded Barba’s current form, saying he was close to reaching the dizzying heights that won him the Dally M medal in 2012.
Barba has previously stated he may never return to his phenomenal form of that season, but conceded it was now a possibility after establishing himself as the club’s No.1 option at fullback this season.
“But I just want to focus on now, playing week in, week out. I’ve worked so hard to try and find that again over the last few years,” he said.
“I haven’t played the best football but at the moment I’m just enjoying each game and not worrying about what’s happened in the past or what’s going to happen in the future.”
Barba said he was also flattered by talks of a possible Origin debut.
“To even be talked about in that area again after the years I’ve had is pretty special,” he said.