Magic Marmin returns
THEY are the three words every Ipswich Jets fan has been waiting almost two years to hear.
Barba is back.
Livewire winger Marmin Barba will make his return to North Ipswich Reserve today, named to start on the wing against the Townsville Blackhawks.
It was a little under two years ago when Barba broke his leg in the opening minute of a clash against Wynnum Manly at the same ground.
But he has put that all behind him, and is excited to be fully fit and ready to tackle the Blackhawks.
"I can't wait, it feels like it's been ages, hopefully we can come away with the win and make it even better," Barba said.
"There's always been a rivalry between us and Blackhawks. (Former Jets) Carlin Anderson and Rod Griffin are playing for them now, and they're both good mates of mine, so I can't wait to play against them."
Barba admitted he felt "a bit of pressure" to cross the white line on his return, such has been the reaction from fans to his return to the Jets.
"I'll just go out and play my normal game, and hopefully score a couple of tries," he said.
"I'm looking forward to playing with the boys again, we have a lot of players I haven't played with before so it'll be exciting. Hopefully I can make my mark and keep my spot there on the wing."
Barba said it "meant a lot" to pull on the Jets jersey once more.
"The club has done so much for me," he said.
"Playing under Ben and Shane, they've really helped me with my footy, I give them a lot of credit.
"I don't think I could ever turn my back on this club, for what they've done for me. It's special to put this jersey on, I feel really at home here."
Despite a round one defeat to PNG, the 27-year-old believes the Jets have the squad to return to premiership glory this season if the group plays to potential.
"We've got the fastest team in the comp without a doubt," he said. "We've definitely got the team to take it out this year, I believe 100% in the boys we have."
Jets CEO Jason Cubit is looking forward to seeing renewing the Jets-Blackhawks rivalry, in what has become the traditional NAB Defence Force Appreciation Day.
"There is a healthy rivalry there between the Jets and Blackhawks, they were our grand final opponent in 2015 and we've had a rivalry since they've come into the competition," Cubit said.
"When we do play each other, it's a good opportunity to play good, tough rugby league, but to also acknowledge the contribution the defence force makes to not only Ipswich, but Townsvile as well.
"Both clubs have embraced it. The Blackhawks have worn their special camo jerseys in the past, and we will wear our special blue jersey in tribute to the RAAF.
"We would love to see a great crowd there (today), to watch the Jets play some exciting football, and see Marmin return to North Ipswich Reserve as well.
"I know there will be a lot of excited people there to see him back in action."
Entry to North Ipswich Reserve is free for kids and any Defence Force personnel with their credentials.
Gates open at 11am, with the main game kick-off at 1.10pm.