Ben Barba has crossed the line one too many times.
Ben Barba has crossed the line one too many times.

Partner’s fears if Barba dumped

THE mother of Ben Barba's four daughters has pleaded with the North Queensland Cowboys not to sack him over an alleged public domestic violence incident at a casino, where he allegedly hurled rocks at her.

The Sunday Mail can reveal Barba's partner Ainslie Currie was reluctant for the Cowboys to punt the player once crowned rugby league's best.

The Cowboys sacked Barba on Friday after the incident at Townsville's Ville Resort Casino over the Australia Day weekend.

He is now set to be rubbed out of the NRL forever and could also be charged by police.

Ms Currie - who had a bloodied face after another alleged domestic violence incident with Barba in 2013 - is understood to have claimed the latest matter was private, and had concerns about her family's financial stability without Barba's income.

But the Cowboys immediately terminated Barba's $300,000 contract after seeing CCTV footage of the incident.

Ben Barba with partner Ainslie Currie at the Dally M Awards
Ben Barba with partner Ainslie Currie at the Dally M Awards

The Sunday Mail can reveal the couple, who had spent more than seven hours at the casino with several Cowboys players and partners, caught a taxi moments after the incident.

It is understood police and the NRL's integrity unit will investigate three ­alleged incidents including a heated verbal exchange in the pool area in front of hotel guests, several Cowboys players and their partners, an alleged physical clash inside the casino that was caught on CCTV, and an alleged clash in the car park before they got into the taxi.

Barba and Currie remain together, and were spotted having lunch the next day with their young family.

The Cowboys were shocked when ­informed of what had happened on Monday.

Barba trained on Tuesday in what would be his final session.

"He had settled in really well, he was popular … and had been outstanding at training," coach Paul Green said.

"He seemed happy in his new environment and everything was going well.

"There were absolutely no signs of any issues."

The incident happened at Townsville’s Ville Resort-Casino.
The incident happened at Townsville’s Ville Resort-Casino.

Cowboys supporters and the Rugby League Players Association backed the decision to axe Barba, saying violence against women could not be tolerated.

Association boss Ian Prendergast said Barba had returned to the NRL well aware that any behavioural issues would result in his deregistration.

"It appears his professional career in the NRL is now over," Mr Prendergast said.

The scandal is just the latest off-season incident involving NRL stars, following aggravated sexual assault charges against Jarryd Hayne and Jack de Belin.

Furious Australian Rugby League Commission chairman Peter Beattie said that after a brilliant 2018 season, "off-field, it has been a train wreck for our fans" and "the game has to take a tough stand against domestic violence or it has no future".

Barba and Ms Currie were high school sweethearts in Mackay and have been together for more than a decade.

Domestic Violence Prevention Centre boss Rosie O'Malley would not comment on the Barba case but said there were many reasons women stayed in violent relationships.