Ben Barba inspires Bulldogs to upset over Storm

Last updated 19:39 24/06/2012
Ben Barba
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SPEED FREAK: Ben Barba was on fire as the Bulldogs beat the Tigers.

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Flying under the radar may no longer be an option for Des Hasler after his Bulldogs toppled NRL ladder leaders Melbourne 20-4 in Mackay on Sunday.

Indeed Hasler's Bulldogs are as inconspicuous as Canterbury fullback Ben Barba is in his hometown of Mackay after downing the competition heavyweights to extend their winning streak to five straight.

The eccentric Hasler may still try to keep to his mantra but any doubts that the Dogs were not serious contenders will be debunked by their convincing four-tries-to-one win in front of 11,876 people - most of them Barba fans.

Any why not - Barba gave a not so subtle reminder to Queensland selectors ahead of Origin III by scoring one try and helping set up two others in a dream return to his hometown.

Barba's limited edition signature T-shirts in the merchandise stand at Virgin Australia Stadium flew out ahead of the match.

But he will only have eyes for another piece of clothing - a Maroons jersey - after laying a timely claim to the Queensland No.1 jersey expected to be vacated by Billy Slater (knee).

Barba brought the Mackay faithful to their feet when he opened the scoring off a Josh Reynolds kick in the ninth minute.

And the Bulldogs were up 10-0 by halftime after centre Krisnan Inu pounced on a Kris Keating cross-field kick in the 32nd.

Melbourne threatened to keep in touch when winger Anthony Quinn latched onto a Cameron Smith chip in the 47th minute.

And they appeared to be over again but video referee Sean Hampstead gave Ryan Hinchcliffe's darting effort in the 53rd minute the red light.

A Barba break set up Inu's second try in the 54th minute before the Mackay boy produced something that was worth the price of admission alone.

With five minutes left on the clock Barba cut through four defenders before Josh Morris finished off the length-of-the-field effort.

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- AAP

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