New Bronco Roberts raring to go
Brisbane coach Wayne Bennett said he hoped new recruit James Roberts would be a Bronco for life after the former Gold Coast Titan trained with his new teammates for the first time.
Bennett admitted securing Roberts was totally unexpected, adding the fact the 22-year-old came to the club after receiving bigger offers elsewhere suggested he was the type of the player the coach wanted at Red Hill.
"He did have a lot of choices, and he had quality clubs as well, so it wasn't a case of looking and not being able to go to a quality place," Bennett said as the team returned to training after the Christmas break.
"We're very appreciative of that and I hope that we can deliver for him what he wants, and he can be the player that we all want to see and enjoy watching him play.
"We do see him as a life contract here now. He's been to two or three clubs now, but as we've done with our players in the past, once they perform and play to their potential then they have no fear about their futures."
Roberts, the Dally M centre of the year with the Titans in 2015 after scoring a club record-equalling 16 tries, rejected offers from South Sydney and St George Illawarra to join the Broncos, saying at the time he wanted to go to a club that would give him the best chance of playing representative football.
After getting to know his new teammates, he said the lifestyle in south-east Queensland had also been a major factor in his decision.
"Money was never the dilemma. It's the lifestyle and where I'm going to be most happy off the field," he said.
"It's a bit closer to home at the moment and the Queensland lifestyle fits perfectly for me.
"As of last year I had a good year and good lifestyle, so staying in Brisbane is probably the best option for me."
Roberts, sacked by the Rabbitohs and Penrith for disciplinary breaches, also said playing under Bennett had been a big attraction.
"It's a special team and a special coach," he said.
"There are plenty of special players in the club and he's a special coach and I'd love to be coached under him."
The Broncos, beaten in golden point by the Cowboys in last year's grand final, have been installed favourites at $4.25 to go one better this season.