Dally M medalist to make season debut against South Sydney in round four.
No matter what the result is this weekend, it will already be a Good Friday for Ben Barba.
The sensational fullback has been named by Bulldogs’ coach Des Hasler ahead of their blockbuster clash with South Sydney.
Barba has been a notable omission for the 2012 runners-up through the first three rounds of the season, after seeking alcohol and gambling addiction counselling.
Hasler put off rushing Barba back into the side for their grand final rematch with Melbourne last round, but he has finally penciled him in, setting up a tantalising match-up against opposite number one Greg Inglis.
The Bulldogs have added yet another monster to their pack with Frank Pritchard also set to make his season debut in time to face the Rabbitohs.
Canterbury legend Steve Mortimer said playing again will have a huge boost on Barba as he returns to a sense of normality his life has been lacking in the past month.
“Ben wants to play and he has a good attitude,” Mortimer said.
“It’s great he’ll be playing, not only for the Bulldogs’ sake but for himself as a person. Football is great therapy for Ben although it (his rehab) isn’t finished yet. He is in the right position to play footy again.”
Despite going down too the Storm last round, the Bulldogs would have gained confidence out of their performance despite missing some of its biggest stars.
South Sydney will be out to arrest their defensive worries that has seen them almost give up commanding leads in their last two games.
The Rabbitohs, who along with the Storm are the only unbeaten sides three rounds in, were involved in a high-scoring contest against the Panthers last round, winning 32-44.
Bulldogs:Ben Barba, Mitch Brown, Josh Morris, Krisnan Inu, Sam Perrett, Josh Reynolds, Kris Keating, Aiden Tolman, Michael Ennis (c), Martin Taupau, Tony Williams, Josh Jackson, Greg Eastwood. Interchange: Dene Halatau, Dale Finucane, David Klemmer, Frank Pritchard, Tim Browne, Drury Low
Rabbitohs: Greg Inglis, Nathan Merritt, Dylan Farrell, Bryson Goodwin, Andrew Everingham, John Sutton, Adam Reynolds, Sam Burgess, Issac Luke, Jeff Lima, Chris McQueen, Ben Te’o, Michael Crocker (c). Interchange: Nathan Peats, Ben Lowe, Dave Tyrrell, George Burgess, Roy Asotasi, Justin Hunt, Jason Clark