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Capras coach admits chance of luring Barba is a long shot

Ben Barba wears the Broncos jersey.
Ben Barba wears the Broncos jersey. Luke Smith, Broncos Media

DALLY M Player of the Year Ben Barba may be heading to town, answering Rockhampton Leagues Club Capras coach Jason Hetherington's prayers.

Well, not just yet, but it is possible.

With 2013 Capras fullback and Intrust Super Cup Rookie of the Year Cameron Munster off to the Melbourne Storm for the 2014 NRL season, Hetherington is looking for a suitable replacement.

He'd be hard-pressed to find anyone better than Broncos new recruit Barba, voted the NRL's best player in 2012, who was earlier this week linked with the Capras for next season.

As part of the club's feeder club arrangement with the Broncos, 24-year-old Barba, Dingo product Ben Hunt and Brisbane's 2013 Rookie of the Year Corey Oates could all turn out at Browne Park in Capras colours.

"It'll be good to see them up here, whether it's on a promotion or what," former Australian international Hetherington said.

And, as for Barba's chances of pulling on a Capras jersey?

"About as much chance as getting hit by Haley's Comet (but) it'd be nice," Hetherington said.

"Even to have him up here, say if the Broncos could send him up here on a weekend they're not playing just to promote the game and the area then he'll help.

"He is a Mackay boy who comes under our CQ NRL Bid banner. He'll be valuable with getting people out to the footy."

St Brendan's College graduate Hunt appears to be the front runner for the Broncos No.7 jersey after the departure of Peter Wallace and the retirement of Scott Prince.

Oates, who burst on to the scene in Brisbane's round 17 32-0 loss to Melbourne Storm, went on to score eight tries in nine matches to finish the 2014 NRL season.

Barba joined the Broncos a fortnight ago for pre-season training, and is recovering from off-season ankle surgery, but is expected to be fit for the Broncos' final trial in New Zealand on February 23.

The trio may have signed with the Capras, but Hetherington wasn't confident of seeing Hunt, Barba or Oates next season. Not that he was concerned.

"Corey had a terrific back end to the year (and) he's still only 19," Hetherington said.

"Whether he can consistently hold his position in the team I don't know because I don't think he's a winger personally.

"He'll end up in the backrow eventually ... he was outstanding for them at the back end of the season.

"We may not see him either and I'm guessing we may not see Ben Hunt either.

"We've just got to keep working hard on the footy program and if we get them back then great, but if not, then they're the cards we're dealt and we've just got to work hard.

"I'm excited with the squad we've got together now."

Topics:  ben barba broncos cq capras rockhampton sport rugby league