Barba targeting fullback role and competition for Lomax as St Helens debut nears

St Helens star Ben Barba admits he knows where he will be playing for his new club with his debut little over a week away: insisting he is ready to battle with England’s Jonny Lomax for the fullback shirt.

The mercurial Barba will make his debut in next week’s eagerly-anticipated derby against local rivals Wigan – with many expecting him to take up the role he has starred in for most of his career: fullback.

And Barba says the battle with Lomax for the club’s number one shirt should bring the best out of both players.

“That’s where I’ve had all my success in the past,” he said of fullback.

“Jonny Lomax has obviously played for his country and done a job here for quite a long time. I’m sure if I’m there or he’s there, we’ll work pretty well together.

“It’s a good headache for the coach to have. It only makes the guys work a bit harder. We’re pushing each other each week to try and get better.”

Barba also added that coach Justin Holbrook has already told him where he will play next week, saying:  “I’m not too sure if he’s given it away yet so I don’t think I can.

“Wherever he puts me, I’ll hopefully do a job for the team.”

Barba, who turned down Warrington after being released early from his contract with French rugby union club Toulon, also admits that his suspension from the game has left him with time to reflect upon the mistakes he has made.

“I’ve had a lot of down time, a lot of thinking about the mistakes I’ve made,” he said. “You play it through your head what might have been if things hadn’t have happened.

“But I’ve got four little girls that keep me on my toes, it’s my family that have probably kept me sane this last 10 months.

“The last few weeks have been tough but I’ve been working pretty hard on the field to get myself ready.

“After going to union, I lost a bit of fitness.”