Jet to ‘put his finger up’ to Seibold
Wayne Bennett believes Souths flyer James Roberts can be his match-winner on Friday night as "The Jet'" plots revenge on Anthony Seibold, the Broncos coach who didn't want him, in the Suncorp Stadium grudge match.
Roberts' uncle and long-time manager Jeremy Donovan says the speed demon is motivated to "put his finger up" to Seibold in the top-eight blockbuster - three months after the centre's shock split from the Broncos.
Brisbane's premier centre for three years under Bennett, Roberts never settled under Seibold, who sensationally dumped the former NSW Origin star to the Intrust Super Cup in May as his form went off the rails.
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Ironically, Roberts' 79th and final game for the Broncos came against the Rabbitohs, who threw him a lifeline just weeks after Souths thumped Brisbane 38-6 in round eight at Sydney's ANZ Stadium.
Roberts has scored just one try in nine games for Souths, but Bennett says it takes only one moment of magic for The Jet to burn an opponent - as evidenced by his 70-metre solo try to stun the Roosters at Suncorp last year.
Now, Roberts has every incentive to haunt Seibold and potentially send Brisbane crashing out of the top eight.
"James is a match-winner. He does things other players can't do," Bennett said ahead of the pair's return to Suncorp.
"James has been playing pretty well. He had one of his best games last weekend (against the Bulldogs) without being brilliant.
"He is still finding his feet, he only came here mid-season. But he is happy being back in Sydney and he has good support people around him.
"He is in a much better place to what I've seen him in the past.
"The way to get the best football out of James is by trusting him. Simple as that. You trust him. He will perform.
"I know James is in a good place here and he knows I have confidence in him to get the job done."
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Seibold had bona fide reasons for demoting Roberts. His erratic form aside, the 26-year-old was urged to work harder to rehabilitate an Achilles problem that had plagued him for 18 months.
But when Roberts was axed to second-tier football, mentally he had checked out of the Broncos.
In an interview in June, he revealed he didn't trust Seibold and felt there was a "barrier" in the communication style that flowed so freely with Bennett.
Donovan, who negotiated the deal that delivered Roberts to the Broncos, said the Souths junior would be motivated by his Brisbane exit.
"This week will be a huge week for James. It will fire him up," he said.
"He has a point to prove to Seibold, he will want to put his finger up to him, that's for sure.
"I don't think Seibs and him ever jelled.
"All you have to do is make Jimmy laugh and have him happy. When he is laughing, he is thriving and he will perform for you.
"He is a complex person with simple needs. When he feels loved and appreciated and respected and that people believe in him, he stands up and shines.
"Wayne always really cared about James. That's where he feels safe, playing under Wayne, and that's why he will come good at the Rabbitohs."