FORMER Saints full back Ben Barba, who left his contract early to rejoin the NRL, has been sacked by his new club North Queensland Cowboys before their season has even started.

Multiple reports in Australia state that North Queensland have terminated the contract of Barba after allegations of an incident at a Townsville casino on Australia Day.

A statement issued by North Queensland Cowboys said: "Today, North Queensland Cowboys terminated the playing contract of Ben Barba due to a significant breach of the terms of his contract."

Cowboys chairman Laurence Lancini stated: “When a player joins the North Queensland Cowboys he agrees to abide by the terms of the contract.

"After an internal investigation, it has been determined that this player has acted in contradiction to both the terms and the spirit of that agreement. Accordingly, the club has terminated his contract and has informed the NRL’s Integrity Unit.”

Barba was brought over to Saints after serving a suspension for drug use, but he secured an early release from his contract after one and a bit seasons in the red vee.

He won the Steve Prescott Man of Steel last year after a stellar start to the campaign, although he tailed off in the mid summer.

Meanwhile former Cowboy, Lachlan Coote, who came the other way to replace him, shone on his debut last night against Wigan.