Roberts hunting more ball in Origin II
NSW Blues centre James Roberts says while he is reasonably happy with the start to his Origin career, he is hoping to get more involved in attack in his second Origin this Sunday night.
The Broncos speedster also said his troublesome Achilles wasn't troubling him at all at training as he eyes off some more running in attack in game two.
Roberts is known for his blistering speed and ability to score long-range tries but had plenty of work to do in defence in Origin I as a fired-up Queensland skipper Greg Inglis hunted the Blues' new-look right side.
NRL.com Stats show Roberts made 16 tackles – the most of any NSW outside back and just two behind Inglis's 18, which was the most of any outside back in the match.
While Roberts recorded three missed tackles in the game (two on Inglis and one on Valentine Holmes), in all three cases he either finished off the tackle after the original fend or slowed down the runner for his teammates to shut down the play.
"Yeah he's a class player and one of the best to ever put on the Queensland jersey let alone in the centres as well," Roberts told NRL.com when asked about backing up his assignment of containing one of the best centres of the past 30 years.
"I've got my hands full again this week and I just need to try and get a bit more involved than last game and just make my tackles."
Roberts's 58 metres was the lowest return of any outside back in game one and he was the only one of the 10 not to bust a tackle.
Pressed on his attacking chances, Roberts said it was an area he hoped would improve as his right edge of Nathan Cleary and Tyson Frizell/Angus Crichton got more time together.
"It was just the way the game went, sometimes you don't get as much ball and you make a few more tackles," Roberts said.
"I thought we were pretty busy in their attacking area, they were getting me and Cleary a bit but I thought we did a good job out there.
"I'm not too sure [about the stats] to be honest, at that time I was just focused on doing my job and making my tackles, that's the only thing I can do and the only thing I can control."
While his average intensity at NRL level this year is 77 metres per minute, he maintained 87 metres per minute through the second half before he was subbed off with about 10 minutes to go. His peak intensity period, from the 55th minute to the 60th, was 103 metres per minute.
The Blues centres' combined average match intensity of 103.4 metres per minute was well clear of the 96.6 metres per minute combined from Inglis and Will Chambers.
Roberts also said his Achilles held up and that his substitution seven minutes from full-time was more about getting teammate Tyrone Peachey into the action than himself needing a rest.
"I think it was a bit of both. He needed to get Peach in there and amongst it and get a feel for it as well," Roberts said.
A week off at club level followed by a strong 80 minutes in Brisbane's win over Cronulla has Roberts and his troublesome Achilles raring to go for Sunday night.
"It's sort of week to week. [Tuesday] felt really good, I got through the whole session," Roberts said.
"Sometimes it's a bit worse than other mornings so sometimes I'll ease out or do half a session but it's feeling good this week compared to the first game so hopefully it stays like that for the rest of the week and I'll just look after it."
Don't miss Game II of Origin at ANZ Stadium on Sunday June 24. Get your tickets here