James Roberts is ready to be unleashed for NSW in State of Origin where he can be a game breaker in the big arena, insists his Brisbane Broncos teammate Jordan Kahu.
NSW coach Brad Fittler said recently Roberts was in the frame for the Blues and the 24-year-old flyer’s progress would be monitored.
Last year the Brisbane centre scored 18 tries for the Broncos and Kahu got a bird’s eye view of his talents playing outside him at right wing.
“The last couple of years he has been up there. Origin is another level and Jimmy probably deserves a shot, at least once,” Kahu said.
“He is just a game breaker and the person you need in big games. He can just flick a switch, and you give him the ball and he will create something.
“I just think that Origin is so back and forth and you need someone like Jimmy to get ahead.”
Roberts has appeared in great shape at Broncos training where he has been more vocal and taken on a leadership role.
“Jimmy has sorted things off the field and coming to training is always keen,” Kahu said.
“He’s been around for a while now and has been leading a lot of the young boys at training and helping them. He’s been awesome.”
Kahu, who grew up playing in the custodian’s position in rugby union, said he had “made it no secret that I want to play fullback” and may get his chance in the trials with captain Darius Boyd on the injured list.
He was quick to say he did not expect Boyd to be moving into the halves and added the Maroons star would be the club’s fullback in 2018.
“If I’m not playing fullback, I’m not really bothered [where I play]… if Darbs is no good I’ll definitely put my hand up,” he said.
The imminent positional change of Corey Oates from wing to second row is one that Kahu said he could see working.
“He grew up in the second row and has that natural ability there, and although he has been playing really good for us and at Origin level on the wing I am sure he’ll fit into that role nicely if he does,” Kahu said.
Kahu, who has groin surgery after the season finished, earlier told NRL.com that he felt like a new man after his operation with the pain that dogged him throughout 2017 now a thing of the past.
He had a minor setback but will soon be back practising his goal kicking in preparation for the season kick-off.
“From about March all the way through the whole season I was struggling to run and my training was modified for pretty much the whole year,” Kahu said.
“As soon as I got the surgery I felt a lot better even waking up in the mornings. I didn’t have that pain in my tummy I had the whole year and it so much better running now.”
Meanwhile, Broncos new recruit Jack Bird left training early on Monday morning after re-injuring his sternum.
Bird had ice on the injury and was off to get some pain-killing injections.
The injury is one he carried last year and is a different issue to the one that led him to having shoulder surgery.
Kahu said he had his “fingers crossed” for English recruit Andre Savelio when he undergoes scans on a suspected serious knee injury he suffered in the Broncos 16-6 win over the CQ Capras on Saturday night.