Barba will rediscover magic: Sailor
Revenge may loom large, but Wayne Bennett has delivered a warning to Ben Barba about bringing "baggage" to next month's All Stars clash on the Gold Coast.
However, Wendell Sailor believes the dumped Broncos star will rediscover his mojo by rubbing shoulders with Johnathan Thurston in the February 13 showcase - rather than dwelling on rubbing out Bennett's NRL All Stars.
NRL All Stars mentor Bennett admits Barba will be out to prove a point in a stellar Indigenous team just three months after the 2012 Dally M Medallist was told he had no future at Brisbane.
However, Broncos coach Bennett believed nothing good could come of Cronulla recruit Barba harbouring any ill feeling about his unceremonious Brisbane departure.
"He will probably wear himself out proving a point all year," Bennett said.
"But we have all moved on, that's life.
"If you want to keep carrying your baggage with you, it is going to be a long journey."
However, Indigenous assistant coach Sailor could only see positives from Barba's All Star selection at five-eighth alongside Thurston by fan poll.
Still buzzing from his Dally M success, Barba scored a first-half hat-trick at fullback in the last All Stars clash in 2013 before the concept's hiatus.
Sailor admitted Barba had never scaled those heights since after well-documented off-field dramas led to his Bulldogs departure and ill-fated Brisbane stint.
But Sailor believed Sharks pivot Barba could rediscover his former magic running out with two-time Golden Boot winner Thurston.
"I like Ben Barba in the halves with Thurston - hopefully that will spark him like a couple of years ago when he was man of the match of that game (in 2013)," he said.
"He probably hasn't reached those heights again.
"A couple of times he has been getting there but hasn't been able to unleash."
Sailor - who returned from a two-year drug ban to play under Bennett with the Dragons in 2008 - could empathise with the out-of-sorts Barba's plight.
"Everyone makes mistakes, it is how you bounce back," he said.
"I think about when I finished my career in 2010, a couple of years before then I wasn't liked that much.
"You have to come back and earn respect.
"But I think he is doing the right things - we will see where it leads."
Fellow Broncos discard Josh Hoffman backed his Indigenous All Stars teammate to bounce back.
"It wasn't the greatest season for both of us last year, but this gives us a fresh start," Gold Coast recruit Hoffman said.
"Playing consistent footy is a big part of it.
"If he starts doing that, gets his confidence back, it won't be long until he is back where he wants to be."