Santa Claus has come early and it has given the Brisbane Broncos the best gift ever: the signature of James Roberts, who turned down big money offers from various clubs to join the Broncos.
The departure of veteran center Justin Hodges made up his mind about choosing Brisbane over Dragons.
Roberts will sport the maroon and yellow until 2017 after signing a two year deal with the Broncos. The 22-year-old will report for pre-season with the squad on January 4th.
“We certainly did not expect this opportunity and James and his advisor have conducted themselves very well during negotiation,” said Broncos Chief executive Paul White to Fox Sports.
“James is obviously motivated to play for the Broncos for the benefit he will see both on and off the field.”
“James is one of the most exciting young players in the NRL and we believe playing in the Broncos’ system can help his game to the next level,” said White.
The Sydney Morning Herald details that James, who had plenty of offers from various clubs, has rejected the South Sydney and St George Illawarra to develop his game under the guidance of Wayne Bennet. South Sydney expected to get his signature after Roberts has started his career there, but he decided to remain at Queensland.
The process of finding a club for Roberts has been a long and strenuous, says his advisor Jeremy Donovan. But he firmly believes that the process has helped in the “growth” of James that will help not only as a player, but also as a person.
The first chance to impress Bennet will come on February 13th when Roberts will line to play for the Indigenous All Stars when they face Bennet’s World Stars at the Suncorp stadium.
This move might also see the end of Dale Copley as he was expected to take the centre spot vacated by Hodges. Looks like he will have to find himself a new home this Christmas.