After an Australian Crime Commission investigation uncovered systemic drug use in sport with links to organised crime, Barba tried to provide the shot in the arm disillusioned NRL fans craved in the official season kick-off in a sublime display.
Stealing the limelight in an All Stars game is no mean feat.
But reigning Dally M Medallist Barba effortlessly stole the show with three tries, forming a deadly combination with North Queensland five-eighth Johnathan Thurston.
And Barba appears destined to again combine with Thurston this year in Queensland State of Origin colours after picking up on Saturday night where he left off in his breakthrough 2012 NRL season.
Barba did his best to keep the 41,021-strong Suncorp Stadium faithful on their feet after the All Stars concept came under fire in the lead-up to the fourth annual clash, held for the first time in Brisbane this year.
A lucrative pre-season nines tournament mooted for New Zealand next year has placed pressure on the existence of the All Stars showcase.
Barba provided one good reason to keep the faith with the concept, although a lacklustre second half ensured a restless crowd resorted to starting a Mexican wave.
The lack of second-half highlights coincided with Barba being rested in the final quarter after opting to ice a hamstring niggle.
The Indigenous All Stars squared the ledger at 2-2 with their NRL counterparts thanks to hat-tricks by Barba and flying Canberra Raiders winger Reece Robinson.
The feel-good vibe in the Indigenous camp threatened to turn sour when Thurston was felled by Willie Mason contesting a bomb in the dying minutes.
After the heart of Indigenous coach Laurie Daley - and, no doubt, Queensland mentor Mal Meninga - skipped a beat, Thurston eventually regained his feet and gave a thumbs up to team staff.
Barba had a hat-trick by halftime in the pre-season opener played in quarters, setting up an 18-6 lead at the main break.
He crossed twice in the opening quarter and grabbed a third after swooping onto a Thurston chip kick at the 30-minute mark.
His first try in the 10th minute came after a powerful run and off-load by centre Justin Hodges and a grubber kick, again off Thurston's boot.
His second came after the quarter-time siren following some slick passing as the ball swept through the hands of Thurston, Greg Bird and Robinson before Barba appeared from nowhere.
The NRL All Stars' only points came via their fullback Jarryd Hayne after a wild overhead pass on the final tackle by Indigenous winger Blake Ferguson.
Hayne scooped up the loose ball 60 metres out and flew down the left touchline to level the scores at 6-6.
Indigenous prop George Rose produced the season's first shoulder charge in the 37th minute, penalised for his shot on Josh Morris.
Robinson picked up in the second half where Barba left off, crossing for tries in the 46th, 71st and 78th minutes as the Indigenous All Stars finished with a bang.