AAP Rugby

Roberts sheds self-doubt for Origin II

By AAP Newswire

He was a nervous wreck before his State of Origin debut, but NSW centre James Roberts enters game two with a confidence he's never had.

Roberts looms as one of a number of NSW game breakers as the Blues hope to seal just their second series win in 13 years with victory on Sunday over Queensland.

The Brisbane star admitted the occasion might have got to him in game one, where he was outshone slightly by most of the other Blues' rookies in the comprehensive win.

"I'm a lot better than last game with nerves and confidence-wise. I know what to expect. It was just the speed of the game, really," Roberts told AAP.

"I think everyone was, but I was pretty nervous. That's why getting it out of the way is a great confidence booster. Now it's about improving as a team and an individual."

Part of that includes his direct battle with Queensland and club captain Greg Inglis, who had rattled a number of Blues' cages with a series of thundering hits in game one.

He also produced a handful of trademark fends on his South Sydney teammate, but Roberts said the Blues could make him pay if he came racing in again.

"We expected a big game from him. He played well. But I'm looking forward to getting out there and trying to stop him from doing his thing and getting a win for the team," Roberts said.

"It's hard when he comes out and times those shots well, but we can capitalise on it if we're ready."

Roberts credited Brisbane coach Wayne Bennett with turning around a career that appeared on edge after getting sacked from two clubs, and being controversially released from a third.

He revealed Bennett had offered him some advice ahead of his Origin debut in Melbourne.

"I actually spoke to him a little bit. He just said to enjoy the game, to embrace it and play it like I had been for the Broncos each week," Roberts said.

"He's helped me a lot and been a great mentor. He's helped me develop as a footballer and a person and I'm very grateful for everything he's done for me."