Roberts now does his fighting on-field - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Roberts now does his fighting on-field

By Laine Clark 13/06/2009 12:27:29 PM Comments (0)

All the late nights, all the bar-room biff, all the time on the drink - former NRL bad boy Ben Roberts regrets none of it.

Sure, it almost sabotaged his rugby league career.

But the way Roberts sees it, it made him the player he is today.

And what a player, judging by his man-of-the-match performance in the Bulldogs' 44-22 NRL win over the Broncos at Suncorp Stadium on Friday night.

Eight months after facing the sack, Roberts, 23, has been rewarded with a two-year contract extension following a remarkable transformation - both on and off the field.

"I am very grateful for the Bulldogs giving me another opportunity," Roberts said after sparking the eight-tries-to-four demolition of Brisbane.

"Whatever has happened in the past is in the past.

"I don't regret any of it.

"If it had not happened I probably wouldn't be the way I am today.

"Now I am just concentrating on my game and I am getting better and better each week - I couldn't be happier."

In October 2008, the Bulldogs looked like they had had enough of the former Kiwi international.

Reports had filtered through of an intoxicated Roberts trying to fight Wests Tigers star Robbie Farah at a notorious Kings Cross nightclub.

It did not look good - particularly after being charged with assaulting police in Wollongong in February, 2008.

Oh, and the $5,000 fine for becoming involved in a fight at a Cronulla bar last July.

He cut down on the drink, and trained harder after yet another reprieve.

But Roberts credited something else for his resurgence.

"For me it's just realising how much potential I have," Roberts said.

"People kept telling me what I could achieve if I put my mind to it.

"It made me realise that maybe I do have an opportunity to be a good footballer which is what I am trying to do now.

"This is my fourth year playing first grade.

"This year I have taken it upon myself to establish myself as a first-grader and start believing in myself - and it is showing on the field."

Especially on Friday night.

In what he rated his best game, Roberts cut the Broncos to ribbons to set up the Dogs' first four tries, then laid one on himself.

His try put the Dogs up 28-22, and the visitors were never headed again as they ran over the top of an underdone Broncos.

Roberts credited his halves combination with old head Brett Kimmorley as another reason behind his transformation.

"He takes a lot of pressure off me," Roberts said.

"He gives me a chance to work on my strengths and that's running and taking the line on."

Bulldogs coach Kevin Moore sounded like a proud dad after Roberts' inspirational hand at Suncorp Stadium.

"I just think it is a credit to Benny the way he has handled himself off field and really dedicated himself to his footy," he said.

"Benny's not a bad kid at all.

"He's just had a couple of incidents where he made some poor choices but he has put them behind him - well behind him."

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