Roberts re-signs with leadership role in mind
KNIGHTS halfback Tyrone Roberts is confident the club can cover the absence of Jarrod Mullen after scans revealed the extent of the five-eighth’s torn hamstring.
Mullen played in all but one of the Knights’ matches last season, but Roberts, who yesterday re-signed with the Knights for two more seasons, until the end of 2016, said a replacement No.6 could fill the breach.
‘‘I’m sure the boys will take it under their wing to do the right job,’’ he said.
Captain Kurt Gidley appears the likely replacement at five-eighth but is unlikely to return before the Knights’ round-one clash with Penrith on March 8.
Utility Michael Dobson will have his chance to stake a claim for the five-eighth jersey when he partners Roberts in the club’s trial against Canberra in Tamworth on Saturday night.
Roberts emerged as an on-field leader for the Knights in 2013 and was rewarded with the captaincy in the club’s trial against the First Nations Goannas this month.
The 22-year-old Western Suburbs junior said he would relish the opportunity to become the club’s permanent leader in the future.
‘‘It was a big moment for me, taking the boys out,’’ he said. ‘‘I love this club. If I get another chance to captain the Knights, my pride and my passion will go out on the field.’’
He thanked coach Wayne Bennett for the chance to extend his stint in Newcastle.
‘‘He’s shown a lot of patience in me, and I’m glad I can sign here for another two years. I’ve lived here since I was 14,’’ he said. ‘‘I’m having fun and enjoying the combinations between me and the other players. We’re really achieving a lot of goals at the moment.’’
Bennett said in a statement that Roberts was a key part of the club’s long-term plans.
‘‘Tyrone is an outstanding young man and has a wonderful future ahead of him,’’ he said. “It has been pleasing to see him grow in confidence and we are delighted he has re-signed with the club.
‘‘Tyrone is one of our key young players who will be a long-term player at the Newcastle Knights.’’
Mullen’s was one of three serious injuries suffered at the Nines. North Queensland fullback Lachlan Coote has a season-ending knee injury South Sydney five-eighth Luke Keary (shoulder) is out for 16 weeks.
● Knights assistant coach Rick Stone has been nominated for Coach of the Year at the Fiji Sports Awards to be announced tomorrow.
Stone guided Fiji to the World Cup semi-finals in November. Though beaten 64-0 by eventual champions Australia in the semi, the Bati defeated Samoa 22-4 in the quarter-finals and Ireland 32-14 in their opening game of the preliminary rounds.
Fiji face Samoa in May for the right to join Australia, New Zealand and England in the Four Nations tournament.