COMEBACK: Marmin Barba played his first game for the Jets in two years in a round two win over Townsville Blackhawks.
COMEBACK: Marmin Barba played his first game for the Jets in two years in a round two win over Townsville Blackhawks. Franca Tigani

Barba: 'Never a Cutter'

WHEN Ipswich Jets flyer Marmin Barba suffered a similar ankle injury to the one which ended Bronco Jharal Yow Yeh's career, there were fears he may never play rugby league again.

Continued setbacks into the start of 2017 saw Barba return to his hometown of Mackay, but there was still hope he could one day don the green and white again.

When the troublesome ankle finally started to respond, Barba turned out for local Mackay side Magpies, and steadily built on his speed and fitness.

With Barba 1000km away from the watchful gaze of Ben and Shane Walker, it would have been remiss of the Mackay Cutters not to at least approach the former Broncos-contracted player.

Ahead of tomorrow's clash against the Cutters at North Ipswich Reserve, Barba reflected on the time Cutters coach Steve Sheppard asked the obvious question of the 27-year-old.

"I had a talk to the coach, but I was never going to switch sides," Barba said.

"There was talks about (joining the Cutters) when I moved back, but I could never play for another QCup side other than Ipswich.

"They've done a lot for me. If I ever played for another side, I couldn't live with myself.

"I've loved it, it's probably one of the best moves I've done. Ben and Shane have really helped me grow into the football player I am today, and I'm really thankful for that."

Barba will sit out tomorrow's match as he recovers from the shoulder injury he sustained early in the Jets' round three win over Easts.

"That's footy, you've got to live with getting injured every now and then," he said.

"But hopefully I'll be back in a few weeks, and get to be able to play them when we meet them later in the season.

"It's always good to play against your hometown side, especially when I have a few good mates in the side. It's always a good rivalry, hopefully we come away with the win."

In Barba's place, young speedster Denzel Burns has been given the opportunity to show his wares in the vacated wing position.

"It's been good for Denzel to get a feel for what the QCup level is about," Barba said.

"After that (ankle injury), I'm a lot more mature about my injuries now and making sure I'm on top of them.

"The body isn't getting any younger. You've got to make sure you do everything right by it.

"I'll come back when I feel ready. Until then, Denz gets a bit of time there, and he's enjoying it which is good."