In a blow to the Broncos’ 2019 prospects, the Broncos have announced the immediate departure of centre, wing and fullback option James Roberts to the South Sydney Rabbitohs.
Immediately prior to his departure, Roberts was ranked as the fourth most productive centre, wing and fullback option at the club, averaging 122 run metres, 1 missed tackle and 1 line break per game.
While Broncos’ decision to cut ties with Roberts should free up salary cap space to re-sign the likes of Oates and Pangai Junior to long term deals, the club’s decision to sacrifice one of their top 4 centre and wing options in Roberts but persist with the substantially less productive and defensively liable, Bird, who is signed to a far more lucrative long-term contract, is somewhat baffling.
In light of that, Roberts’ departure is another disappointing moment for the Broncos’ recruitment and retention team.
Obviously salary cap restraints mean the Broncos can’t retain all players. That said, the ongoing inferior on field performances this season from regular first graders Matt Gillett, Alex Glenn, Jack Bird and Andrew McCullough, as well as the likes of Shaun Fenton, Sam Tagataese and Patrick Mago, means the Broncos should have first sought to move on a number of those players, before contemplating releasing any of their 4 most productive centres and wingers, which includes Roberts.