He is yet to play an official NRL game for Brisbane.
But James Roberts has already shown enough to earn retired Broncos great Justin Hodges’ endorsement.
Hodges reckoned Brisbane were already fired up enough to break through for a seventh title in 2016 after last season’s heartbreaking grand final loss to North Queensland.
However, Hodges admits it will be scary what the Broncos will achieve with Roberts now on deck.
Roberts will attempt to fill the big shoes left behind by Hodges when he runs out in their NRL season opener at Parramatta on Thursday night.
But Hodges already likes the look of his replacement since he lobbed after an off-season Gold Coast Titans forgery contract bungle.
“He was a surprise arrival,” Hodges told AAP.
“But coming here and being coached by Wayne Bennett is only going to make him better and a better person.
“And James is a scoring machine.
“It is scary what these guys can do now.”
Brisbane are the bookies favourites to win the premiership with Roberts now on the books.
But Hodges already believed Brisbane would have the edge on their opposition before his arrival.
“The hunger from losing last year’s grand final, if that doesn’t spur them on to go back and do one better, nothing will,” Hodges said.
“Hopefully they stick together like last year and go one better.”
Brisbane prop Josh McGuire believed they had already found a worthy Hodges replacement.
“It’s hard to replace Justin Hodges but I have faith in Jimmy,” he said.
New Brisbane captain Corey Parker agreed.
“He oozes that X-factor. He can just create,” he said.
“I am lucky enough to watch him train and pull off those freakish plays every day.”
But likely centre partner against the Eels, Jordan Kahu senses something never seen before – not even in Hodges – in Roberts.
“He’s out of this world. You don’t usually see speed like that on the rugby league field, it’s usually on the track,” he said.
“And he is a lot stronger than you think.”