Furious Roberts on the brink of leaving Broncos
James Roberts is on a collision course with Broncos coach Anthony Seibold with the strike centre "ropeable" at his axing for Friday night's Magic Round clash against Manly.
News Corp can reveal Roberts is so furious at his treatment by Seibold it could represent the final straw for his career at the Broncos after weeks of speculation 'The Jet' is ready to take off from Red Hill.
Roberts' freefall comes as former Brisbane star Chris Walker suggested the incumbent NSW Origin centre reunite with his trusted mentor, Wayne Bennett, at South Sydney in a bid to revive his spluttering career.
Brisbane's No.1 centre under Bennett for three years, Roberts has fallen out of favour with Seibold to the extent that he was not named in the Broncos' 21-man squad for the Sea Eagles showdown at Suncorp Stadium.
Roberts trained at Red Hill yesterday wearing a blue vest running with the reserves in an opposed session against the NRL team.
With no Intrust Super Cup games this weekend due to the Residents clash, Roberts has nowhere to play.
It is understood Roberts' demotion was designed to spark him into action, but it has done the opposite.
Known as a complex and sometimes fragile character who took strength from the mentoring of Bennett, Roberts does not have the same connection with Seibold and it could ultimately convince him to seek a release.
Roberts is contracted to the Broncos until the end of 2021, but Walker believes Bennett holds the key to extracting the best of the Origin speed machine.
"Looking at his body language, James seems unhappy and that's where Wayne Bennett is the master," Walker said.
"Wayne did so much for me in my career, he is really in touch with his players and Jimmy blossomed under Wayne.
"Jimmy should consider a change because under Seibold the Broncos aren't using him in the way they should.
"He needs to get the ball more regularly. If I was an inside back, I'd be feeding Roberts the ball every set.
"He is going to make more metres taking on an opposition centre than what a forward would making a simple hit-up.
"The Broncos need to get Jimmy involved."
The problem for Roberts is there's no guarantee he would receive a lifeline from Souths. While Bennett is a fan, other powerbrokers at the Rabbitohs are not convinced Roberts would add value to the club.
Broncos skipper Darius Boyd hopes Roberts is not lost to the club.
"James' story is well documented, he has had a tough upbringing and Wayne and 'Whitey' (Broncos CEO) have done a lot to help him," Boyd said.
"He has ties with Wayne but Brisbane is good for him and the club has been good for him and I'd like to see him repay that favour.
"But I understand it's a business, so he has to look after his family and what he thinks is best."
Former Broncos skipper Gorden Tallis urged Seibold not to give up on Roberts.
"James has been injured but he has the one thing you can't coach and that's speed," he said.
"I don't believe they use him the right way, you only have to watch the Roosters and the early ball they give to Latrell Mitchell.
"I remember him as a 20-year-old kid at Souths and James Roberts can do things that only he can do."