|BEN BARBA (Photo credit: paddynapper)|
|Ben Barba (Photo credit: Liam Mendes)|
The Bulldogs confirmed today that Barba, the Dally M player of the year in 2012 and a key player in the club's charge to the grand final, would be suspended after being informed of "a number of "behavioural issues". It is unclear as yet whether the ban will extend to the opening round of the premiership next weekend.
"Whilst we all know the undoubted on-field attributes and abilities that Ben displays, we must always maintain our focus on the more important issues of personal development and accountability," chief executive Todd Greenberg said.
"It is our hope that the media and the many rugby league fans understand and respect the need for privacy in order for Ben and his family to make the relevant adjustments that are required for him to return to the playing field."
Barba said in a statement released by the Bulldogs: "Today is a very difficult day for me as I feel I've let my family, children, club and supporters down. My issues relate to seeking help for personal issues that I face day to day.
"I'm incredibly sad to be stepping aside as I've been so blessed with what's happened to me over the past few years, but I feel as though I would be wearing a mask if I didn't confront the matters I've been dealing with until now.
"I feel it is best to deal with these problems front on and I believe that by doing so this will make me a better person and player in the future.
"This will be a step by step process for me and whilst I hope to return to football soon, I hope that through this next period you can respect my privacy so that sooner rather than later I can return to playing rugby league as best I can.
"When I do, I hope that everybody sees a better person."
Acknowledgements: Sydney Morning Herald