Mid-season switch reignited NRL star’s love for the game

James Roberts has provided an insight into his struggles at the Broncos, and how he has rediscovered his love for the game since switching to South Sydney. 

Worst of all, Roberts had to watch Tom Trbojevic run riot at right centre on Sunday night, the position that this time last year belonged to him.

But Roberts was only full of praise for Trbojevic, who bagged a hat-trick in NSW's 38-6 thrashing of Queensland in Perth's Origin II clash.

"It was good to see Tommy (Trbojevic) kill it, he was on fire," Roberts said.

The Rabbitohs centre conceded missing out on selection in 2019, after winning the series in 2018, was disappointing but couldn't be helped because of matters out of his own control.

"Obviously you want to play the best type of footy on the big stages but it wasn't meant to be this year. A few things went on this year that couldn't be prevented but I'm just focusing on my job for Souths at the moment," Roberts said.


James Roberts is back at South Sydney. Picture: Phil Hillyard
James Roberts is back at South Sydney. Picture: Phil Hillyard


Roberts was granted a release from his deal at the Brisbane in May after speculation the outside back had fallen out with new Broncos coach Anthony Seibold.

Seibold even relegated Roberts to Queensland Cup side Wynnum-Manly where he played one game before the Rabbitohs secured his services until the end of 2021.

A South Sydney junior, Roberts, said the chance to link up with Wayne Bennett, who has been a mentor to him, ultimately swayed his decision to return to Redfern.

"I've got a pretty good relationship with Wayno and he was my first choice once I got released from Brisbane. I was pretty keen to come down here and to come home. It's worked out for the best," he said.

Roberts inadvertently provided some insight into his time under Seibold at Red Hill, revealing he had rediscovered his love for the game since arriving at Redfern.

"I'm enjoying training again and looking forward to coming to training. I haven't felt like that in a long time," he said.


James Roberts has rediscovered his love for rugby league. Picture: Phil Hillyard
James Roberts has rediscovered his love for rugby league. Picture: Phil Hillyard


"Being a junior it's pretty special. I'm really enjoying my time and the boys have been really welcoming like Sammy Burgess and big Sutto (John Sutton)," he said.

The Rabbitohs will take on the Wests Tigers at Bankwest Stadium on Thursday night and are desperate to break a three-game losing streak.

Backrower Sutton welcomed the return of halfback Adam Reynolds and centre Braidon Burns from injury but warned his side that they could not underestimate the Tigers.

"We haven't been playing our best football and it's good to get a few of the boys back. It's going to be a tough game against the Tigers. They've got some experience in Benji (Marshall) and Robbie (Farah) and they really like to throw the footy around. We've got the be good defensively, that's probably our main focus," Sutton said.