Secret soup behind Roberts' recovery
He spent a day bedridden and took two trips to hospital but Titans five-eighth Tyrone Roberts says it was his mum's special soup that enabled him to shrug off a serious dose of the flu and take the field against the Panthers last Saturday.
With Roberts unable to train on Wednesday and Jarryd Hayne resting a calf complaint Gold Coast's new spine had just one run together before the one-point loss to the Panthers and face another disrupted week ahead of their do-or-die clash with the Cowboys.
Hayne's calf injury will see him on restricted duties early in the week while halfback Ashley Taylor is nursing an ankle injury that may also limit his time on the training paddock.
There are no such concerns for Roberts although he was in serious doubt a week ago when struck down with the flu before his mother, Gladys, made the trip up from Ballina to administer her secret elixir.
"I can't tell you. It's got everything. It always fixes me up," was all Roberts would say of the ingredients Gladys uses.
"Whenever I'm crook I just tell her to come and cook me her soup. She comes and cooks it and I know I'm going to be sweet the next day too.
"I went to the hospital twice because the first doctor didn't give me antiobiotics and then I went back home and had to go back because it got a bit worse.
"I had to get something because I was getting headaches and it got bad at one stage, I couldn't get out of bed. It was pretty full-on.
"Once I got it I was sweet, got my mum to come up and cook me her soup and I was fixed after the soup."
Hayne's first game at fullback last weekend was the fourth of his return but the first time he had played alongside both Roberts and Taylor.
Up against a Panthers team rolling forward with plenty of momentum the Titans playmakers struggled to assert themselves on the game in the opening 40 minutes before launching a rescue mission in the second term.
A penalty goal to Roberts levelled the scores with five minutes to go and then he and Hayne attempted an all-or-nothing play at the end of the next set of six tackles.
Rather than kicking into the corner Roberts chip-kicked for Hayne just inside Panthers territory and from the next set Penrith skipper Matt Moylan iced the result with a field goal from 30 metres out.
Titans coach Neil Henry said afterwards that there were "a couple of kicks that we'd probably take back again" but Roberts said he was happy to back Hayne's judgement.
"He called it and if we just got the right bounce there was something on. I always back my instinct and if he thinks it's on then I'll just do it," Roberts said.
"I sort of saw it because they were coming up and Moylan and that was all back deep. The only way people could get to it was maybe the halves so I had to put it a bit straighter.
"We just didn't get the bounce. If I'd put it up a bit higher for him he would have got it on the full but things just weren't going our way."
At best the combination of Hayne, Roberts and Taylor will have just two field sessions between now and kick-off against the defending premiers on Saturday but Roberts says that is enough time to get their execution right.
"For me and Ash and 'Haynesy', we've just got to work together a bit better," said the 25-year-old.
"Me personally, I need to be a bit more selfish and run the ball more in the first half. In the second half we were sweet but you can't play only 40 minutes.
"The first 40 was a bit clunky because we weren't laying the line properly and we were getting dominated.
"We weren't executing properly at the end of our sets, weren't kicking to the right man and we just didn't follow the game-plan for the first 40 minutes.
"We've got faith in ourselves. At the start of the year everyone backed us out so it's just another thing that we've got to work on during the week.
"Haynesy has got experience and I've got experience and we've just got to make sure we all buy into what the structure is."