SAINTS coach Justin Holbrook says all the media speculation about Ben Barba back in Australia is a good indicator of the impact his gifted full back has made on his return to rugby league.

Earlier this week the chairman Eamonn McManus expressed his annoyance to the Australian media after the latest report linked his star man with a return to Cronulla, spelling out that Barba was contracted till the end of 2019.

However, Holbrook said that the issue was not having any unsettling effect on the playing group – or Barba himself.

He said: “It (the speculation) doesn’t bother the playing group or the staff, but obviously the club won’t be happy with it.

“From my point of view the minute Ben came here I wanted people to talk about him because that would have meant he was playing well.

“And this year would anybody be talking about him if he wasn’t? Of course they wouldn’t.

“The fact that everyone wants to talk about him and there is interest from everywhere, I am ok with because it means he is doing a fantastic job for us.

“He is going really well and that is great for our team, himself and the club.”

Speculation Down Under went up a notch last week - particularly with Cronulla coach Shane Flanagan stating that he would welcome Barba back to the club with open arms.

And that has fed into the chatter and banter over here and on Saturday at Magic, the Warrington fans packed into the corner repeatedly sang songs about “Barba going home.”

And to underline that none of it was unsettling him one iota, Barba’s response at Newcastle was to ghost through for one try without a finger being laid upon him, set up two more and to pull off an amazing try-saving tackle on the line.

Holbrook highlighted the latter as a key contribution to the team’s victory.

“It was huge. A massive play in the game to come up with that tackle when he dd, with us scoring in the next set, meant it was a 12-point turnaround in the game.

“That is what we needed at the weekend – big plays – and that tackle was one of them,” he said.