Ennis backs Barba to mount successful NRL return

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Michael Ennis has backed his former Cronulla Sharks team-mate Ben Barba to make a successful NRL return after failing a drugs test.

Barba was handed a 12-match suspension after testing positive for an illicit substance for a second time, with 2016 Premiership winners Sharks releasing him from his contract.

The 27-year-old, who scored a try in Cronulla's Grand Final victory over Melbourne Storm, has set off to attend "an intensive overseas program" as he seeks to "address some significant personal issues".

Ennis, who also played alongside Barba at Canterbury Bulldogs, is confident the full-back can find his way back into the sport.

"I definitely think that he can [return]," he told Fox Sports.

"Guys make mistakes and we've seen so often in our game where guys can take some time away from the game and get the required help that they need, can definitely come back and continue on and have a great career.

"We've seen that with Mitchell Pearce this year and the steps that he took early on and to see how he came back was tremendous and I think that'll certainly be something that a guy like Ben can draw from.

"When and where I think's irrelevant at the moment because I think there's a bigger focus."