SAINTS chairman Eamonn McManus has hammered out a 'hands off' message to Australian clubs trying to lure Ben Barba back to the NRL by insisting that the on-song full back is contracted and going nowhere.

Speculation intensified Down Under this week - particularly with Cronulla coach Shane Flanagan stating that he welcome Barba back to the club with open arms.

And there was plenty more putting two and two together and coming up with five once Saints' interest in Wests Tigers Kevin Naiqama became known.

But Saints are not going to roll over, having made the move to bring him back into league a year ago, despite having a 12-week ban to serve.

He is also the club's star man and has helped revitalise the team and excite the fans.

Speaking to Australian Press agency, AAP, McManus sent a message to the Australian clubs, expressing his annoyance at the potentially unsettling expressions of interest.

He said: “I keep reading these reports than Ben won’t be here next year and to be quite honest, it is a little bit annoying.

“He is midway through a two-and-a-half-year contract and he and his family have settled in the area very well and really embraced the town, the people and the club.

“Whenever you sign a player from the NRL there is a risk involved, so Ben’s was no different to any other signing we’ve made over the years.

“But he is a lovely lad, very quiet, very humble and is very much a family man who keeps himself to himself.

“The fans love him and he has taken them into his hearts. This is a very working class town and the people are very down to earth and he enjoys that environment.”

Barba has been ejoying playing in Super League - and plays the game with a smile on his face and is currently top of the try scoring charts.

On top of that McManus said that the player himself has given no indication of wanting to leave.

“Obviously he will return home at some stage, but he’s under contract for next season and has a fantastic relationship with our coach Justin,” he said.

‘He’s got a lovely family and the children are settled in at school.

“We’ve had some fantastic Australians who’ve served this club with great distinction such as Jamie Lyon and Mal Meninga.

“Ben is right up there with them.”