James Roberts has completed a rare in-season move as he was granted an immediate release from his Brisbane Broncos contract and signed quickly with the South Sydney Rabbitohs.
The deal was one that has been completed on compassionate grounds, with Roberts having reached out to the Broncos to see if there was a way to return back home to New South Wales and Sydney, where he grew up, with his partner and their two children.
From a rugby standpoint if gives the Rabbitohs a player that comes to them as a no-risk prospect. Roberts had been in exile with the Broncos, with the former NSW Blue last seen playing in reserve grade with Wynumm Manly in front of a crowd of 1,200 people.
Roberts has played 131 Telstra Premiership matches, making the first 10 with the Rabbitohs before being sacked by the club in 2012 for breaches of his playing contract.
After scoring an impressive 49 tries in 79 games for Brisbane it was expected that Roberts would be a big part of the Broncos plans this year and that he was nailed on for a spot in the left centre for the Blues this Origin series. Instead, he has fallen down the pecking order for club and state, and he will be looking to rehabilitate his career with Souths.
The Rabbitohs face the Paramatta Eels this Friday in a game that might come too soon for Roberts to make his debut. While Souths are without their Origin stars, their young guns should be enough to see them beat a fading Paramatta side. You can get odds of 1.38 for a Souths win at BetXchange.