Barba was banned from the NRL after a second positive cocaine test.

He joined Toulon in French rugby union after leaving the Sharks, before linking with Super League side St Helens.

But Barba was limited to only five matches for the Saints as he carried out his suspension.

He returned to Australia in the off-season but is adamant he always intended to return to England.

"It was wonderfully hot up there in North Queensland - I enjoyed walking round in a pair of shorts in the sun," he told The Mirror.

“I hadn’t seen my parents for 10 or 11 months, and the two and a bit weeks I spent with them wasn’t long enough. I jokingly mentioned it to the missus and she gave me a clip around the ear and told me to get on the plane with the kids.

"I’d made a promise to the guys at Saints that I was definitely coming back. For them to take on my suspension last year, to sit out those 12 games and then be able to play again meant something to me.

“It showed I meant something to them as well, and the only way I could repay them was by staying.”