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James Conway

RUGBY league fans will welcome back one of the game’s most exciting players, Dally M Medal winner Ben Barba, when the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs take on arch-rivals the South Sydney Rabbitohs at Stadium Australia on Good Friday.

To get your tickets for Good Friday’s blockbuster, click here.

Barba, 23, will line up at fullback for the Bulldogs for the first time this season after taking a break from the game for personal reasons.

And that will bring him face to face with the Rabbitohs’ man mountain Greg Inglis in a showdown that has footy fans licking their lips in anticipation.

Barba, an ambassador for Stadium Australia, writes regularly for our website. However, for now, the electrifying fullback would prefer to keep it short and sweet.

“It’s great to have been named in the Bulldogs team for this week’s match against the Rabbitohs,” Barba told Stadium Media.

“It’s been a difficult period but it’s felt great to be around my mates and back training.

“I love rugby league and to be back doing what I love is fantastic.

”I’m looking forward to feeling the footy buzz again.”

The Barba effect and the great rivalry between the Bulldogs and the Rabbitohs are promising to deliver one of the biggest NRL regular season crowds in years, with 40,000-plus fans expected for the Good Friday showdown.

Stadium Australia today opened its Level 6 seating areas. The last time the Stadium did this for an NRL club game was for the Nathan Hindmarsh farewell match last year, when 45,863 fans made it the biggest regular-season NRL game since 1969.

Sales are on par for any club rugby league game in recent history.

With more than 100,000 fans also expected to attend the Sydney Royal Easter Show at Sydney Olympic Park on Good Friday, football supporters are being encouraged to take advantage of integrated ticketing, with the cost of public transport included in the game-day ticket.

Direct trains will run to Sydney Olympic Park every 10 minutes on Good Friday and major event buses will run on 11 routes across Sydney.

If fans want to drive, they are being encouraged to park at Lidcombe or Strathfield, and take the short Olympic Sprint train ride across to Sydney Olympic Park. Or to park near major event bus stops.

Bulldogs v Rabbitohs. The last time these two teams met, almost 71,000 fans were almost split down the middle – one half of the Stadium was blue and white and the other half red and green for last year’s Preliminary Final. The Bulldogs won that game to proceed to the Grand Final after Souths lost key playmaker Adam Reynolds to injury.

The Good Friday kickoff is at 4pm, however fans are encouraged to leave plenty of time to get to the game.

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