Broncos centre James Roberts and Titans rookie Tyronne Roberts-Davis.

Roberts a role model to Titans rookie

He dreamed that they would one day be Titans together but Gold Coast rookie Tyronne Roberts-Davis is simply happy that he will get to share the NRL's biggest stage with the man who is his mentor, James Roberts.

The Broncos-Titans derby at Suncorp Stadium on Friday night will be a decidedly family affair for the Roberts clan with James to line up for Brisbane and Tyronne Roberts-Davis and Tyrone Roberts to run out for the Titans.

The trio spent many holidays together in Ballina growing up and shortly after James moved to the Titans midway through the 2014 season Tyronne moved in with him as he set out on his own path towards the NRL.

 


The plan was for their paths to travel down a similar journey based on the Gold Coast but a contract dispute saw James head north at the end of the 2015 season where he has become a fixture in the Broncos' backline.

As has been the case throughout his turbulent yet brilliant career, James has had his share of issues since joining Brisbane and he and Tyronne have leant on each other for support these past two years.

When Tyronne made his debut against the Eels in Round 3 James was in the stands watching and the 19-year-old said it was the next best thing to being able to play alongside him.

"He was asking me for some tickets for him and my cousins," Tyronne said, who sourced two tickets for James to attend.

"It was good to play in front of him, it would have been good to play with him as well.

"I used to live with him for a couple of months when I was going through school and doing 18s and Mal Meninga [Cup] and that and that's when he moved up to the Broncos.

"I was hoping he'd stay here for a while and I was hoping I'd get a crack and be on his side as well. But things happened and that's how it is.

"We've been really close since we were young. He's like an older brother to me and he's been there since we were young."

Sacked by the Panthers and Rabbitohs, James found himself in trouble again last year when he was fined for an incident at a Brisbane pub late in the season.

After he missed the semi-final against the Cowboys due to a suspension stemming from Brisbane's elimination final win over the Titans the week prior, Roberts checked himself into a Thai rehabilitation clinic to try and finally overcome the demons that have plagued his life from an early age.

But for all his misdemeanours – and there have been plenty – Tyronne knows James as a man who is a doting father and who took his wheelchair-bound brother Kirk to the 2015 Dally M Awards as he collected the Centre of the Year gong.

"It's not all it's made out to be in the media. It just happens that way but I know who he is and what he's about as well so I just trust him," Tyronne said.

"We've been a support for each other actually. He's helped me giving me a couple of pointers of what to do out on the field and when he's in any doubt over stuff he rings me up and I'll just have a quick talk to him.

"I hope it's the wake-up call for him because he's a good player and great to be around as well, especially on the field."

‌With 'Uncle Tyrone' battling a number of injuries prior to Friday night's clash, Roberts-Davis could yet be thrust into the fullback role against Brisbane where he would need to break free of his quiet demeanour and be a vocal presence at the back in his sixth top grade appearance.

"Obviously he's very shy off the field and he can be on the field as well but that's a goal that me and 'Elg' [Kane Elgey] have to take on board, to try and help him as well," Titans half Ash Taylor said of Roberts-Davis.

"Just like any other young player that comes into the team, he builds off the confidence that we give him and we're going to have to work hard with him this week to bring him up to scratch.

"He's just taken it all on board. He's made a couple of mistakes but the coaches have helped him through that and made him better for it which is not making the mistakes these days.

"He's getting better each week and I'm sure we're going to see more of him in the coming weeks."