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Titans, Broncos in queue for Bulldogs star Ben Barba

BEN Barba's future at Canterbury is not yet guaranteed beyond this season, with the reigning Dally M medallist featuring in recruitment talks with two Queensland clubs.

News Ltd. understands Gold Coast and Brisbane have been sounded out over their willingness to sign Barba from the Bulldogs in 2014.

Although officials from all three clubs were yesterday tight-lipped about the negotiations, the move north will only stand a chance if Canterbury convince Israel Folau to return to rugby league.

Gold Coast CEO David May last night denied any knowledge of his club being approached, with his Bulldogs counterpart Todd Greenberg giving the same answer.

Brisbane chief executive Paul White and recruitment manager Andrew Gee did not return calls.

With Folau tipped to command in excess of $750,000-a-season, the Bulldogs cannot accommodate both him and Barba under the salary cap.Several forces have earmarked Barba as the player to make way for the Wallaby squad member, should the ARU and Waratahs fail to extend Folau's one-year rugby dalliance.

The first is Barba's current contract value. He signed a four-year extension midway through 2011 when he was on the cusp of being dropped to NSW Cup.

The deal reflected Barba's standing at that time, but appeared paltry within just 12 months after he was crowned the game's top player.


Despite Barba's off-field behaviour and subsequent suspension causing Canterbury plenty of heartache earlier this year, the 23-year-old's management believe he is underpaid.

Following Barba's discharge from a two-week stint in rehab, they have held meetings with Greenberg to request an upgrade.

As yet the Bulldogs have refused to oblige.

But recent form - highlighted by a two-try effort against North Queensland - indicates Barba is capable of igniting Canterbury's run to the finals.

But a move to Gold Coast would give Barba the chance to link with brother Marmin. The Titans have also cleared $1 million to spend on recruitment.
The Telegraph
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