I’m not a Maroons contender: Barba

Queensland coach Kevin Walters has a quandary on his hands over who to use as a replacement for injured fullback Billy Slater.

But Ben Barba reckons he’s unlikely to be the man that fills the breach.

Mentioned as a possible bolter for the Maroons No.1 jumper for this year’s State of Origin defence, the Cronulla custodian has brushed off the suggestion he will receive a maiden representative call up this year.

“It’s always good to have my name tossed up in that arena, it hasn’t been for a while now,” Barba said.

“I’m a proud Queenslander and I’d love to wear that Maroon jersey. But at the moment they’ve been so dominant that they’ve stuck with what’s worked for them in the past.

“If I even get mentioned (to be in contention for) that side it’s an honour. I’ll just keep worrying about my football at the Sharks and if I keep it up I give myself every shot.”

Walters recently threw up Barba’s name as a possibility for the fullback spot alongside South Sydney’s Greg Inglis and Brisbane’s Darius Boyd.

While Inglis and Boyd are the clear front-runners, vacancies in the three-quarter line could see Barba come into calculations.

With Justin Hodges’ retirement and Melbourne’s Will Chambers out with a foot injury, Walters could elect to play Boyd and Inglis on the wing or at centre.

Barba has sparkled at the back for the Sharks this year, leading their 40-16 rout of Canberra on Sunday with two tries, and is in his best form since his Dally M year in 2012.

However the 26-year-old Mackay product said he had too many players in front of him to be considered a contender and expected Walters to stick with Inglis or Boyd.

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