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Eels prepare to shut down Barba in NRL

Ben Barba may be unsettled but Parramatta coach Ricky Stuart is taking no chances when his cellar-dwelling NRL team come up against Canterbury's brilliant fullback on Friday night.

Reigning Dally M Medallist Barba has flagged the possibility of seeking a release from the Bulldogs to link with a Queensland-based club amid speculation his ex-partner and their two children may move north.

"I don't know (how it will affect him). It doesn't interest me," Stuart said on the eve of the Eels' clash with the Bulldogs at ANZ Stadium.

"We've done our work in regards to reviewing his game. I haven't worried about his mental state or his decisions.

Ben Barba: Getty Images
"He is a great competitor. We've done a lot of work on Benny, it's just a matter of trying to handle that instinctive ability that he's got.

"He's got great attacking prowess, and he's a player that every team has to watch because of his speed and his game sense."

The Eels haven't posted a win since round nine against Brisbane in May, all but cementing their spot on the bottom of the NRL ladder for a second straight season.

But Stuart senses that hapless record in itself provides motivation for Bulldogs counterpart Des Hasler and his men.

"They won't want to be beaten by a team that's going for nine straight losses," said Stuart.

"We're not proud of (that), but I can imagine what Des is trying to build his preparation on," he said.

"I believe they will want to bounce off the next week or two in regards to where they're going for their season."

While the sixth-placed Bulldogs are vying for a finals berth with three other teams on 22 points, Stuart's focus has been on rebuilding the Eels for 2014.

After earlier telling 12 players they won't have a place at Parramatta next year, Stuart signed South Sydney forward Nathan Peats and Wests Tigers youngster Brenden Santi this week, bringing his tally of recruits for 2014 to six.

Stuart backed one of those recruits, Brisbane fullback Corey Norman, to bounce back after being dropped to the second-tier Queensland Cup by the Broncos this week.

"He's a tough kid," said Stuart.

"He made a very tough decision early in the season in wanting to join the Eels. From just being able to make that decision he's got courage.

"He'll handle the situation now."

In the longer-term, Stuart is hopeful the rebuild at Parramatta means they will again one day boast some of the biggest names in the game, as the Eels did with club legends like Eric Grothe, Brett Kenny and Peter Sterling.

"It'd be lovely in six to eight years time that we've got those types of names from our young players, our young recruits, our junior league players coming through," said Stuart.

"That's my job. It's a big job. But we're excited about the task ahead."

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