NO ROOM: Across The Waves women's rugby league coach Mandy Ohlbrecht said the NRL should have zero tolerance for violence.
NO ROOM: Across The Waves women's rugby league coach Mandy Ohlbrecht said the NRL should have zero tolerance for violence. contributed

Boot him out: female coach backs decision to cut Barba

VIOLENCE against women is never acceptable, especially when those involved are role models for not only children, but other onlooking adults.

In light of the NRL's decision to ban former Cowboys rugby league player Ben Barba after he allegedly assaulted his partner, a local women's football coach has spoken out about a culture of violence towards women.

Across The Waves Tigers women's rugby league coach Mandy Ohlbrecht said violence in any form, against women or men, should not be tolerated.

 

GONE FOR GOOD: Disgraced rugby league player Ben Barba.
GONE FOR GOOD: Disgraced rugby league player Ben Barba. Zak Simmonds

Ms Ohlbrecht played touch football for over 30 years before moving over to the full contact realm to coach the women's team for the past three years.

Barba is alleged to have assaulted his partner and mother of his four children, Ainslie Currie, and is being investigated by police.

The sportsman was identified on CCTV footage involved in a physical altercation with Currie at a Townsville casino over the Australia Day weekend.

The 29-year-old was already on his last chance after being forced out of the NRL in 2016 after recording his second illicit drugs strike following Cronulla's grand final win.

The career of the former Dally M medal winner and Cronulla premiership hero is almost certainly over after NRL CEO Todd Greenberg promised to refuse to register any player found guilty of domestic violence.

"The NRL should have no tolerance for that stuff at all, zero," Ms Ohlbrecht said.

"I think it all comes down to alcohol. They're locked up in their own world for a while and then they get let out and they think they can do whatever they like."

While Ms Ohlbrecht knew the NRL had programs for players involved with domestic violence, she said it seemed to be ineffective.

"It just doesn't seem to be sinking in with some of the men, they think they're beyond that," she said.

"I don't think the education is there with a lot of sportsmen. They've got that ignorance there, they think they're above it because their pay packet is above it... You see it in all sports."

Ms Ohlbrecht said Barba had numerous opportunities to reform his behaviour and believes the high-profile player was given too many chances.

"They have warnings in place and players can be dropped to lower divisions, but he's had too many strikes. He's gone well above and beyond those three strikes," she said.

"You shouldn't get to three strikes to be honest. Anyone that causes violence needs to be dealt with immediately.

"There's no real punishment straight up. They're letting players get away with it for too long." For the women's coach, education needs to be enforced and Barba needs to made a subject of what happens when players break the rules.

"After this situation the NRL may need to look at making that a little bit stronger," she said.

The north Queensland club tore up the full-back's contract before he even got a chance to slip on the jersey.



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