BARBA STILL IN FAVOUR AT BULLDOGS

Nanjing Night Net

Ben Barba wasn’t named to return against his future club this Thursday night, but Canterbury have not put a red pen through his name for this season.

Fairfax Media has been told only injury will prevent him from playing again this year, despite the ongoing controversy over his move to Brisbane.

Barba hasn’t played since suffering an ankle injury in the opening minutes of the round 20 clash against Parramatta at ANZ Stadium at the end of July.

It was believed he would be a chance of returning in round 26, in time to face the Broncos at Suncorp Stadium before he heads north to join the club, however, Canterbury coach Des Hasler has not named the fullback in his side for the final round of the regular season.

Barba is back training with the side and, while he is a slim chance of returning in time to take on the Broncos, he could be back in the side for the finals.

Meanwhile, Manly coach Geoff Toovey has rested fullback Brett Stewart for their final-round clash against Penrith on Sunday.

An ongoing hamstring injury, compounded by a hip injury suffered in the win against Melbourne last Saturday night, will put the former Blues No.1 out of action until the first week of the finals.

Canberra have reshuffled their side for Sunday night’s game against the Sharks, with Mitch Cornish to make his debut at halfback and Anthony Milford moving back to the fullback role.

Matt Scott will miss the Cowboys’ must-win game against the Tigers with a broken finger.

Nate Myles has been named for the Titans despite suffering an ankle injury last Sunday, however Jamal Idris is at least a week away if the Titans reach the finals.

Meanwhile, South Sydney have shot down any interest in recruiting Blake Ferguson, despite the wayward Raiders player being spotted at the club’s Redfern training venue on Tuesday.

The Raiders have all but issued an ultimatum to Ferguson, that he show up for Friday’s board meeting or be sacked. Asked if the Rabbitohs were interested in Ferguson, Souths chief executive Shane Richardson said: ”No, none whatsoever, can I be more specific or explicit than that.

”There’s no interest at all in any way shape or form.

”Why he was driving past with Grayson Goodwin I have no idea … there’s never been any conversation here. His name hasn’t been brought up once by anyone in our recruitment. It is a dead, final no.”

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