Bolter sees ri­val as a fu­ture Blue

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - - NRL - RIKKI- LEE ARNOLD

ORI­GIN bolter James Roberts wants to com­bine forces with Roost­ers ri­val La­trell Mitchell, af­ter both pushed their claims for a NSW call-up on Fri­day night.

The elec­tri­fy­ing Bron­cos cen­tre gave Blues coach Brad Fit­tler plenty to think about af­ter his performance against the Roost­ers — Roberts scored the try that equalled the match at 22-all. In a mo­ment when lit­tle was go­ing right for the home side, Roberts raced 70m and beat five de­fend­ers to score, show­ing Fit­tler why he is ready to de­but in Ori­gin.

But Mitchell also put in a no­table ef­fort, set­ting up two tries for play­maker Luke Keary in the first half.

While it was a tale of two halves for the duo — Mitchell dom­i­nated the first and Roberts the sec­ond — 25-year-old Roberts be­lieves there could be room for both in the NSW side.

Fit­tler is ex­pected to pick his team next week, with Roberts and Mitchell both ma­jor con­tenders for the back­line.

“It would be good ( to both be se­lected),” Roberts said. “( Mitchell is) a qual­ity player and hard to han­dle out there. He’s big and strong and pretty fast as well. It’s up to the se­lec­tors and Fred­die. Who­ever they pick, I’m sure they’ll do a good job.”

The duo are cre­at­ing a nice rivalry, af­ter the Roost­ers tal­ent tram­pled Roberts in last year’s fi­nals series to snatch vic­tory for his side. On Fri­day night how­ever, it was Roberts who had the last laugh.

While Mitchell was im­pres­sive in the first half, Bris­bane coach Wayne Ben­nett ap­plauded Roberts’ abil­ity to hold his head high and re­spond strongly. “He held his head to­gether,” Ben­nett said.

“He picked his game right up. His de­fence was out­stand­ing for the rest of the night.

“He’s grown so much. It’s a real credit to him.”

Bris­bane’s James Roberts.

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