Round 5 head to head: Stewart v Barba
Thursday 4 April 2013 10:35 AM
It’s the battle of NRL’s supreme fullbacks as Brett Stewart and Ben Barba go head-to-head at ANZ Stadium on Friday night.
Stewart has begun the season in solid form without setting the world on fire. The fullback has two try assists and a try to his name and will be out to add to that tally against the Bulldogs on Friday night.
Ben Barba is ready to breakout like a packet of Pringles. The Sea Eagles need to be wary of an unbound fullback finally let off his leash.
Barba, who returned to the field earlier than anticipated against South Sydney last week, showed glimpses of his freakish talent, scoring late in his return game to boost the troublesome fullback’s confidence leading into the match against Manly.
In the three games they met last season, Barba scored on every occasion, while Stewart only failed to score in the loss at Brookvale Oval in Round 20.
If history is any indication, a firing fullback can be the difference for their side on Friday night.
Speed is a beautiful fixation on the footy field and there is nothing more beautiful than seeing Stewart and Barba in full flight. These two players have the acceleration and pace to chop up opposition teams. Their blistering speed can catch forwards off their guard through the middle and leave outside backs chasing their tails.
Both players bring so much more than just a running game to their respected clubs. They’ve got the attributes similar to a five-eighth and can throw short and long passes to put players over the line.
Let's not forget why these players are at the back. The talk from behind the defence line is a true reflection of their leadership and character amongst their teammates.
There are few distinctions between the two. Stewart and Barba are both great under the high ball and their kick returns set the standard for each set of six.
Brett Stewart loves to float around the ball in support and pick out lazy defence while Barba is more of an instinctive player, reacting to what's in front of him.
Regardless of the result on Friday night, expect an exhilarating display of finesse.