After your performance this weekend I felt compelled to write to you. Here goes.
First of all, I know it’s late, but thank you for coming to St. Helens. When you signed for us, we didn’t know that a few weeks previously we’d also pulled off a masterstroke in appointing Justin Holbrook as Head Coach. Between the two of you, you have helped to bring the entertainers back to life. You’ve helped to bring the fans back to life too – and all because “We’ve got Benny Barba”.
You’re such a positive influence on the club, the fans and the town. You’re bringing the wow factor back to Super League after years of disappointment. You’re a world class player making rugby league look as easy as painting by numbers.
You look to be playing with a smile on your face, you look to be enjoying your rugby. Over here, there’s no media spotlight on you. Over here, there’s no goldfish bowl. You can walk around Liverpool or Manchester and enjoy time with your family without having the press following your every move. You’re not far away from the beach – granted it might not be Bondi, but you’re not far from the sea air. You’re not far from the countryside either, you can enjoy the stunning Lake District, the wonderful Peak District (http://www.mascarandymedia.com/50-gems-of-derbyshire/ – if you need guidance), the picturesque mountains of Wales, or a walk under the Nine Arches.
Your performances this season have been breathtaking. It feels like we’ve not been treated to full length of the field tries for years, then you score 2 and set up one in a matter of weeks. Your side step of Morgan Escare provided us with not just a Good Friday, but a Great Friday. When you got trapped in goal and showed your frustrations in the same game, you showed you cared.
You identify yourself as the link between the older players and the younger lads. That is exactly what is need at the club, another leader who can speak to all players, assisting the less experienced members of the squad.
If anyone had ‘doubts about your character’ then it’s their loss. So far your character has been exemplary – showed by you having time for the young Castleford fan on Saturday after the game. He’ll remember those moments forever, just like we’ll remember the time you’ve spent on the field for us.
There’s only a few things I’d love to see from you in the future, Ben. Sorry for being greedy. I’d love to see you stay until the end of your contract. I’d love to see you stay longer. I’d love for you to win some silverware with the club. I’d love for you to win as many personal accolades as you can whilst at Saints.
But for now, I’d love you to keep that smile on your face, the swagger on the field and keep repaying the trust the club has put in you – because you’re certainly doing all 3 of these at the moment.