Roberts driven by All Stars ambition
Titans centre James Roberts has spoken of how the pain of missing selection in the Indigenous All Stars team earlier this year has driven him to deliver the most consistent season of his young NRL career.
Roberts capped his match-sealing try against the Eels on Monday night with a 'kangaroo ears' post-try celebration in support of AFL star Adam Goodes before pointing to the Aboriginal colours on the wrist strapping he had on both arms.
If he scores his 16th try of the year against the Storm on Sunday Roberts will again perform the kangaroo ears in celebration of Indigenous Round but says it is an All Stars call-up that he covets most.
An announcement will be made on Thursday regarding the venue and format for the 2016 Indigenous All Stars clash and as one of the most exciting talents in the game today, Roberts's name is sure to figure prominently in the public vote.
Roberts was left off the ballot last year due to the fact that he was facing police charges and club-imposed sanctions following an arrest in Surfers Paradise in October, charges that were later dropped.
"I was looking forward to it but I'm glad I didn't [get selected]," Roberts said of a maiden All Stars appearance. "It made me even hungrier coming into the season. I had a good start to the season and just trying to pick up my form and finish off strong."
The 22-year-old said that doing the kangaroo ears after his try in the 72nd minute on Monday night was a show of pride in his Aboriginal heritage and of support for Goodes, but he is unsure whether it will become his signature move like the Greg Inglis 'goanna'.
"I'm not too sure yet. If I get some more tries I might do it. We'll see what happens," Roberts said of a repeat performance.
"I just wanted to show everyone that I'm a proud Aboriginal and that I'm behind [Goodes] 100 per cent."
Roberts and Titans teammate Josh Hoffman will again don the wristbands featuring the colours of the Aboriginal flag against the Storm on Sunday afternoon but says a second consecutive win is the best way to celebrate Indigenous Round.
"Me and 'Hoffy' wore the wristbands just to show our respect and that we're real proud as well," said Roberts, who is now within one try of equalling David Mead's record for most tries in a season for the Titans.
"I can't wait to get out there and hopefully get the win in Indigenous Round as well.
"We were in front and we scored some points unlike the last couple of weeks where we haven't been able to so it was good to finally get some points and finish off with the win as well."