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Ben Barba ready to perform for Cronulla Sharks

Finally comfortable at five-eighth after his blistering All Stars display, ex-Dally M Medal winning fullback Ben Barba is looking forward to taking his place in Cronulla's final NRL trial against Wests Tigers next weekend.

But he is unsure whether controversial captain Paul Gallen will join him.

A speedier, more streamlined Barba reckoned he had ditched his fullback tag after partnering Johnathan Thurston in the Indigenous side's 20-6 upset over the NRL All Stars on the Gold Coast last night.

And he looked forward to capping his five-eighth education at Campbelltown on February 21 ahead of their NRL season opener against Canberra.

However, he wondered aloud whether Gallen would join him after the Sharks enforcer had an inauspicious return.

Gallen was placed on report for a head slam and forearm to South Sydney backrower Kyle Turner in just the fourth minute of Friday night's All Stars clash.

It was not a good look in the Test forward's first game back since serving a backdated ban over Cronulla's supplements scandal.

"The G-train always goes hard," said Barba.

"We all know what kind of player he is. I guess it was a bit disappointing that it slipped a little high there but it was his first game of football in a while and hopefully he is beside me next week when we play the Tigers."

He may not know when Gallen next runs out alongside him but Barba appeared to have no other doubts after his explosive Indigenous pivot stint.

"The five-eighth role is something I have probably got right in my head now, knowing that I am a five-eighth and won't be switched back to fullback," he said.

"One of my off-season goals was to become a better five-eighth not physically but mentally.

"(But) I did work hard to get my speed back at the Sharks and lose a bit of weight (since leaving the Broncos in off-season).

"I am feeling faster, fresher and enjoying my football which is probably the main thing."

His Indigenous halves partner Thurston could see the difference.

"It looks like he is enjoying his footy again - that's what you need," Thurston said of Barba who spectacularly fell off the rails following his 2012 Dally M Medal win as the Bulldogs No.1.

"Playing at six I thought he did an outstanding job (last night). We know how good he is at fullback but he has some real silky skills and is a good talker (at pivot)."

Ben Barba at Cronulla training Source: Getty


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