Disgraced footy bad boy Ben Barba has taken his first steps towards life after sport, slugging it out inside a metal workshop just weeks after losing his $300,000-a-year contract.
The former Dally M player of the year and one-time face of the game in Australia is now working at Statewide Sales and Service, a local business in his hometown of Mackay, Queensland, that makes aluminium garage roller doors.
North Queensland Cowboys manager Peter Parr said last week Barba would drive trucks as part of his new life, but Daily Mail Australia can reveal the father-of-four is working as a metalworker – which pays about $39,000-a-year.
Amanda Doull, the manager of Statewide Sales and Service, said the troubled NRL star had landed the job through a family connection and was still learning the ropes.
‘He’s out there on the floor working under his cousin’s supervision. He’s good and he’s going fine,’ Ms Doull said.
Footy bad boy Ben Barba (pictured) has begun working at a doors factory after his NRL contract was torn up after he allegedly assaulted his partner Ainslie Currie in January
Barba, 29, has taken a job working for Statewide Sales and Services, a local company in his hometown of Mackay that make home and garage roller doors
Barba emerged from the factory in a sweat soaked shirt and with soot across his face, before making a phone call
Barba – who at the height of his career earned $500,000-a-year – was sacked earlier this month after he allegedly assaulted his partner Ainslie Currie during an Australia Day long weekend getaway to the Townsville Casino resort.
After the incident Ms Currie begged the NRL not to sack Barba, claiming it would cause financial hardship to their family.
But after viewing the CCTV footage of the alleged incident the North Queensland Cowboys tore up his contract.
NRL boss Todd Greenberg also handed Barba a life ban from the league and suggested he ‘find a new vocation’.
Despite an ongoing police investigation Ms Currie has continued to stand by the troubled star, and was waiting to collect Barba when he knocked off work.
He emerged from the workshop at 4pm on Thursday, wearing a sweat-soaked shirt and with grease on his face.
Barba’s footy boots and shorts were replaced with a pair of steel cap boots, khaki pants and a blue long sleeve shirt.
Prior to jumping into the car with Ms Currie he made a quick phone call and changed into a company polo shirt.
The disgraced NRL star was once earning $500,000-a-year, but since having his contract torn up has had to trade his football boots for steel caps and khaki pants
Barba changed out of his sweat soaked uniform shirt and into a company polo, before hopping into the waiting car being driven by his partner Ms Currie
Barba borrowed a work truck on his lunch break to drive back to the housing commission home of his parents
When Barba arrived home his partner Ainslie Currie was waiting out the front to pass something through the passenger-side window
Despite just weeks earlier allegedly being assaulted by Barba at the Townsville Casino resort, Ms Currie has stood by her man and appeared happy to see him on Thursday
A metal factory worker earns an average of $20.21 an hour or $39,000 a year.
Barba has also shifted his partner and their four children into the housing commission home of his parents, Ken and Kim.
Just a few weeks before the incident that ended his career, Barba posted a photo to Instagram of himself working out at a local Mackay oval surrounded by his children – Bobbi, Bodhi, Bronte and Blaise.
With a history of controversy and trouble, Barba was given the one-year deal by the Cowboys after a stellar season at St Helens in the English Super League last year.
He had been forced to play overseas after a series of controversies in Australia, including a domestic violence run-in with Ms Currie in 2013 and being caught with cocaine after winning the premiership with Cronulla in 2016.
Barba’s incredible return to form in 2018 saw him win the Man of Steel for best player in the English competition – making him only the second man to have both the Dally M and Man of Steel awards on his mantelpiece.
Barba and Ms Currie pose for a photo in happier times, at the 2012 Dally M awards where he was named player of the season
Since then Barba’s career has been littered with controversy. He was sacked by the Cronulla Sharks (left) after testing positive to cocaine following their 2016 grand final win, before resurrecting his career after a stint in England at St Helens (right)
The father-of-four (pictured with his children Bobbi, Bodhi, Bronte and Blaise) has since returned to his hometown of Mackay and moved his family into the housing commission home of his parents, Kim and Ken
His impressive on-field performances, combined with a reportedly improved off-field attitude, saw Barba offered a single season deal by the Cowboys.
But his contract with the NRL side was promptly torn up earlier this month after his alleged attack of Ms Currie was revealed.
NRL CEO Todd Greenberg said after the incident that the decision was particularly hard as it mean Barba, the main bread winner in his family, was losing his livelihood.
‘His registration with the game is no longer and I can’t see a time, at any time, in the future that he’ll be welcomed back,’ Mr Greenberg said.
‘I’m not going to call for (a worldwide ban) but what I am going to say is that in the jurisdiction that I uphold, there’s no place for him.
‘This is a guy that now loses his livelihood and career in the game. It’s a very clear message for a lot of players in our sport that it is a great privilege to play rugby league.’
BEN BARBA’S FALL FROM $500K-A-YEAR TO A BLUE COLLAR BATTLER:
July 2008 – Makes his NRL debut for Canterbury, in a 30-0 loss to St George Illawarra.
March 2009 – Gets into a drunken fight with Bulldogs teammates Jamal Idris and Lee Te Maari in a Wentworthville hotel. Is dropped to reserve grade for the majority of the season.
2012 – Scores 22 tries to claim the Dally M Medal and take the Bulldogs to the grand final. They lose to Melbourne but Barba becomes one of the most marketable players in the game.
February 2013 – Stood down by the Bulldogs, citing behavioural reasons. Enters rehabilitation for gambling and alcohol issues.
August 2013 – Released from the final two years of his contract with Canterbury to sign with Brisbane for the 2014 season on a two-year deal. The Broncos pay an undisclosed amount to the Bulldogs for the transfer.
September 2013 – Images allegedly showing injuries inflicted by Barba to his ex-partner are made public. An investigation by the NRL clears Barba of any wrongdoing and he is never charged over the matter.
November 2014 – Is told to look elsewhere by incoming Brisbane coach Wayne Bennett. Signs with Cronulla on a three-year deal that will keep him at the club until the end of 2017.
October 2016 – Claims his first premiership with Cronulla after returning to near career-best form. Scores 16 tries in 27 games for the Sharks, including the opening four-pointer in their grand final win over Melbourne.
November 2016 – Released by Cronulla after reports emerge he has tested positive to cocaine four days after the grand final, and faces a 12-match ban. Heads to Thailand for rehabilitation.
February 2017 – Joined French rugby union team Toulon on a two-year deal.
May 2017 – Parts ways with Toulon after being told he was no longer needed the following season. Signs with Super League club St Helens on a two-year deal.
September 2018 – Signs a one-year deal with North Queensland following a strong season with St Helens, scoring 28 tries.
October 2018 – Claimed the Super League Man of Steel medal award.
February 2019 – Sacked by North Queensland for a significant breach of contract before playing a game for the club.