'Greatest Of All Time'
MARMIN Barba wears number two for the Ipswich Jets.
But on Saturday against the Sunshine Coast Falcons, he became number one.
The freakish flier moved past Donald Malone and into the record books, in bringing up his 68th try in 68 matches in the green and white.
Barba has a number of nicknames at the club, and through the week his teammates coined another.
"We're calling him the GOAT. Around here, he's the Greatest Of All Time,” Wes Conlon said after the match.
With a nod and a laugh, Barba shrugged the moniker off as "a big gee-up”.
But when he touched down in the left corner to give the Jets their first lead of the match midway through the second-half, the cheer from teammates and fans which rang around North Ipswich Reserve told the layman everything they needed to know.
Ipswich loves Marmin Barba. And Marmin Barba loves Ipswich.
"When I think of it I get pretty emotional,” Barba said, referencing his record-breaking try in the sheds after the match.
"I love this club. After everything they've done for me, I wouldn't want to do it at any other club.
"To do it in front of a home crowd, and having both my girls here. It's just a big achievement.”
Barba extended his try-scoring run to five consecutive games on Saturday.
Perhaps fittingly it started in his hometown of Mackay, against the Cutters at BB Print Stadium.
Subsequent games against the Blackhawks and Northern Pride also saw Barba hit the scoresheet, before a double in a win over Redcliffe last weekend set the scene for a movie script-like return to North Ipswich for the record-breaking try.
And he delivered.
"He really does have a sense for the big occasion,” Jets co-coach Shane Walker said.
"It's a great thing. We're really proud of Marmin.”
Walker recalled a player who was "a bit lost in terms of what he wanted to do with footy” when Barba walked through the door at the Jets in 2014.
Two seasons later he had 50 tries on the board and on the road to becoming part of Ipswich rugby league folklore.
That is, until a serious ankle injury at the start of 2016 threatened to end his career.
"Obviously he's a great try-scorer and he knows how to get across the line. But I feel his biggest achievement is the fact he's been able to come back from a very serious injury,” Walker said of Barba.
"The doctor described it as exactly the same as (the career-ending injury to Bronco) Jharal Yow Yeh.
"So to be able to come back, and come back in great form like he has is a real credit.”
Now, after a slow start on his return to the Jets, Walker cannot wait to see what "Marmin Mark 2” will produce.
"The second coming,” Walker coined.
"Once again, early in the year he was a bit down on confidence.
"But as the big games roll around, with the sun shining down on a fast track . . . that's when the little peacock gets his feathers out.”