AFTER last year’s disappointing season, Knights back-up half Tyrone Roberts believes his team can’t blame lack of combination development if it fails to deliver this year.
And if pre-season training is any indication, Roberts believes Newcastle will be a serious chance to lift this year’s NRL premiership trophy.
Knights fans were left frustrated when the club failed to qualify for the finals, finishing 12th, but following the signing of top-quality players in the off-season, including Beau Scott, Jeremy Smith and David Fa’alogo, expectations are high in the lead-up to this season. ”We can’t complain about not having those developed connections or combinations,” Roberts said after training on Saturday. ”We don’t have any excuses this year, because most of us were here last season and we’ve had time to get to know each other’s game.
”I think teams are going to have real trouble with us this season – we’re really confident and ready to go.”
Roberts was thrust into the first team last year after captain and halfback Kurt Gidley required surgery on his shoulder, and the 21-year-old had to land on his feet and establish an understanding with fellow half Jarrod Mullen.
”If you haven’t played with that many people and formed those combinations it’s difficult to know your teammates’ best line, what they like to run. You’ve only got a split second to make that decision, and if you’ve got experienced players around you you know exactly where they’re going to be,” Roberts said.
”The difference is knowing your role and forming good combinations. From that you get confidence in yourself. Getting those couple of games under my belt was a great experience. It took a bit of getting used to going back and forth between NSW Cup and first grade, but Wayne [Bennett] had the patience and faith in me to do the job, and at the end of the year I began to really improve.”
Roberts is determined to make his presence felt in the first-grade squad this season.
”You don’t train to be second-best, you train and play to be the best. When you play against people like Gids, who are the best at what they do, you just try to compete and perform to the best of your ability.”
The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.