New Brisbane recruit James Roberts expects to cop some stick from former Gold Coast teammates on the field but says there are no hard feelings with the Titans off it.
“I am sure they will try to get into me but it’s all good off the park – I hope they do well this year,” said Roberts at his first Brisbane pre-season training session on Monday.
The reigning Dally M Centre of the Year said he hoped to finish his NRL career at the Broncos after leaving the Titans in the off-season due to a contract forgery bungle.
The once troubled Roberts, 22, is at his fourth NRL club after signing a two-year Broncos deal.
He said he knocked back interest from South Sydney and the Dragons in order to play under “special coach” Wayne Bennett and still embrace the Queensland lifestyle.
“It’s a fresh start, a new beginning,” Roberts said.
“I intended to do that at the Gold Coast but things didn’t happen the way I planned but I intend to finish off here.
“Money was never a dilemma.
“It’s the lifestyle and where I am going to be most happy off the field – it’s a special team, a special coach.”
Bennett hoped Roberts would finish his career at Brisbane after seeing similarities with Broncos great Steve Renouf on Monday.
“They are all different but he (Roberts) has the qualities that excite people – he has that X-factor,” Bennett said.
“Steve (Renouf) had those qualities and he (Roberts) has them as well.”
Bennett guaranteed Roberts would slot into retired captain Justin Hodges’ centre vacancy.
However he also said he was unsure how Roberts’ arrival would affect his roster.
Centre Dale Copley was expected to be squeezed out.
“We do see him (Roberts) as a life-contracted player,” Bennett said.
“As we have done with players here in the past once they perform and play to their potential they have no fear about their future.
“He realises that he needs to settle down now and make some good choices.”
Bennett expected to name Brisbane’s new captain in March.
He also said he would not replace Kevin Walters on his staff after his former assistant took up the Queensland Origin coaching role.