Sharks want Barba on the training paddock
RUGBY LEAGUE: For the good of his rehabilitation, Cronulla has implored the NRL allow banned fullback Ben Barba to train with the club.
The league is yet to register Barba's newly signed one-year deal, which came two months after his release by the premiers in order to deal with personal issues.
The 27-year-old tested positive to cocaine just days after the Sharks won the NRL grand final over the Melbourne Storm. It was his second positive illicit drug test.
Barba, who spent four weeks at a Thailand clinic following the drug test, was slapped with a mandatory 12-week suspension.
If his contract is registered, it is understood the NFL may force him to wait until just before his anticipated June return date before he can train with Cronulla again.
But, Sharks coach Shane Flanagan said the structure of the club's training regimen would help Barba.
"Ben, he's been through - and he's still going through - a rehabilitation program. He's got a lot of work to do,” Flanagan told Sky Sports Radio.
"But part of that program is getting back and doing some training with us, if possible.
"He's not going to play for at least half the season. We're not too worried about that.
"But we'd like to think integration back into training and getting a bit of schedule will help Benny, so that's the plan.”
When it comes to playing, Flanagan said Barba's best-case scenario was to return after the Sharks' bye in round 14 in June.