Barba linked with North Queensland as Holbrook confirms Coote interest

Ben Barba is set to join North Queensland Cowboys in 2019, according to reports in Australia.

A report in the Courier-Mail claims the 29-year-old has signed a one-year deal with the Cowboys after coming to an agreement with St Helens.

Barba remains under contract with Saints until the end of next season and a transfer fee would have to be agreed to force Saints’ hand.

The speculation comes just days since St Helens coach Justin Holbrook formally confirmed interest in North Queensland’s current fullback, Lachlan Coote.

Coote is off-contract at the end of the season and appears unlikely to stay in the NRL, with St Helens among his suitors in Super League.

Salford are also interested in the Scotland international, whose future with the Cowboys looks to be on its last legs following their alleged chase of Barba.

Speaking to League Express, Holbrook said on Coote: “He’s definitely a player of interest.

“I guess for myself and our club it all depends on the Ben Barba case and how that ends up to know whether that becomes of more interest or not of any interest.

“I think he would be a great player in Super League, I think when you see some of the guys like Blake Austin and Tui Lolohea that are coming to the Super League and how dangerous they are, I think Lachlan Coote is in that class bracket.

“He’d be exciting for the competition and it would be great to see him over here.”