Cowboys eye Barba replacement on open market
NORTH Queensland coach Paul Green has admitted the club will consider going to the open market for a replacement fullback for Ben Barba.
Green fronted up to the media in Townsville on Tuesday morning for the first time since Barba was sacked on February 1 after allegedly assaulting his partner on the Australia Day weekend.
He admitted the club had been left disappointed and was confident everything had been checked prior to signing him last year.
"It was really disappointing," he said.
"Disappointing for the club and disappointing for Ben.
"We did everything we could with the information available to us.
"We're just having a look at all the (replacement) options so we want to make sure, whichever way we go, it's the right thing for us."
The Cowboys have been linked with Rabbitohs flyer Alex Johnston, although Wayne Bennett says the former Test winger is staying put.
It was also reported the Cowboys were weighing up whether to hold off on signing a replacement for Barba in case Valentine Holmes quits his NFL dalliance.
It comes as the Cowboys returned back to regular training at 1300 Smiles Stadium for the first time since flooding inundated the region last week.
The full squad was back on the paddock Tuesday morning after a two-week hiatus from training.
Green said there was a lot to catch up on in the lead-up to their first trial match on February 23.
"Given the last couple of weeks we've had, it's been fairly disrupted," he said.
"We pretty much lost two weeks out of our preseason which was a long time.
"Full credit to the boys, I think they handled it pretty well.
"We've got a bit of work to catch up so how his two week period looked before the rain probably will look a little bit differently and we have to consider the team for our first trial match."