The Canterbury Bulldogs have suspended superstar Ben Barba indefinitely over behavioural issues, just two days before he was due to officially launch the NRL season.
Coming off a breakthrough 2012 campaign in which he romped away with the Dally M medal as the Bulldogs charged into the grand final, Barba had been earmarked to be the unofficial face of the game.
But he won't play any part in Wednesday's competition launch, his immediate playing future in limbo as Barba deals with personal issues that he says he faces day to day.
It has been reported that Barba recently separated from his partner Ainslie Currie, with whom he has two children.
The Bulldogs refused to elaborate on the specifics of Barba's personal issues.
It is unclear whether Barba's ban will extend to the Bulldogs' opening game of the NRL season against North Queensland on March 9.
Bulldogs chief executive Todd Greenberg says the decision to suspend Barba indefinitely comes after the club was informed of a number of behavioural issues.
Barba apologised for letting down the club and his fans, but said he had come to a point where he had to face his demons head on.