Brisbane coach Wayne Bennett has returned serve at James Roberts’ critics and the media, accusing them of having short memories.
The Broncos flyer showed glimpses of his dazzling best in his side’s 44-28 win over Gold Coast at Suncorp Stadium on Friday night to advance to week two of the NRL finals.
“James is like Anthony Milford and Adam Blair, you all found plenty of space to criticise him and find a lot of fault with him,” Bennett said.
“I don’t know when you guys will learn, I really don’t.
“You see it every year. These guys are quality players and it just takes time to settle into a new club.
“Nobody comes into a new club and just blasts off.
“Particularly a club like the Broncos who have long established systems of playing and that kind of stuff.”
Roberts came to the club with high expectations after his Dally M centre of the year win last year but has been accused of rarely delivering on the hype.
He has managed just nine tries this year – compared to 16 last season – and has often lacked the same impact.
However he came to life against his former club, coming up with a scintillating break through the middle of the field and offload that set up Jordan Kahu’s contentious penalty try in the 10th minute.
While Roberts has had to wear the slings and arrows that he’d been a poor buy, master mentor Bennett couldn’t resist a shot at those who had criticised him.
“They have to learn to adjust to that type of stuff and learn how to play,” Bennett said.
“You guys make a cheap headline three or four months of the year and then at the end of the season you’re saying `well how good’s he?'”