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Roberts still sees self as Dogs' No.6

By David Beniuk 05/08/2010 05:46:52 PM Comments (1)

Ben Roberts still sees himself as Canterbury's five-eighth, despite his new bench utility role and the signing of two star playmakers for 2011.

Roberts returned to the NRL from a long-term ankle injury last weekend, but now finds himself behind exciting young pivot Ben Barba and on the Bulldogs' bench.

The Kiwi international had been coach Kevin Moore's first choice No.6 before the injury, partnering veteran Brett Kimmorley in the halves.

And, even though Kimmorley is unlikely to play on with the Bulldogs next year, new signings Trent Hodkinson and Kris Keating will make the competition for the starting halves positions intense in 2011.

Barba is likely to move to fullback with Hodkinson at halfback, leaving Roberts and Keating to fight it out for the five-eighth position.

"If I've got pressure behind me it sort of keeps me on my A game too so I don't mind it," Roberts told reporters on Thursday.

"I'm pretty confident in myself ... so I'm pretty confident that I can hold my spot and to have Kris Keating there behind us nibbling at our feet is always good I suppose.

"It's going to be good competition ... I suppose we're both going to be on our toes and on edge which is good for the side."

Adding to the 25-year-old's pressure next year will be the fact he is off-contract at the end of 2011.

"I'm not really going to take much notice of that and put pressure on myself," he said.

"All I can really do is go out there and play good football and train hard and if it comes off I can be happy with that."

Roberts is now Canterbury's designated utility, not that he would readily agree.

"To be honest with you I look at myself as a five-eighth," he said.

"I'd like to be in the starting side but at the same time I'm just happy to do what ever Kev wants me to do and what's best for the team.

"If that means coming off the bench at the moment I'm going to make sure I do my job every week and make him happy."

He said he'd doubted his ability to play any more NRL games this year as Barba graduated to the top grade.

"I was able to have a good hard think about that when I was injured," he said.

"I had three months to sort of get my head around that but I look at it as a positive thing, not so much a negative."

Meanwhile, the Bulldogs have given the clearest indication yet Kimmorley will only be considered for an off-field role with the club beyond 2010.

"There's never an easy time to work out when someone's career is coming to an end so that's been a difficult one for us," Moore said.

"Our discussions with Brett were always around the fact that it was probably going to be market driven and Trent Hodkinson became available.

"We're excited, when he comes to the club, about what he might be able to offer as a halfback not just next year but for the next eight or 10 years."

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1 Comments about this article

  • barba is the better impact player off the bench. With Patten going next season, i recken barba at fullback (attacking etc) and Roberts at 6 (playmaking abilities)
    Posted by James Rossiter Fri Aug 06, 2010 11:34am AEST

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