Aquis Titans centre James Roberts is one player particularly happy that Aidan Sezer will be reunited with Kane Elgey in the halves for tomorrow night’s M1 derby clash with the Brisbane Broncos.
Roberts admits he has missed the time and space that Sezer, in career best form since suffering a hamstring injury in the round 15 clash with the Warriors, gives him on the right side.
Roberts was just two short of David Mead’s 2011 season record of 16 tries after scoring his 14th try of the year that day, the same match Sezer tore his left hamstring putting everything into his fifth goal-line drop out of the game.
Roberts hasn’t scored a try since as the players around him have struggled for form and his opportunities have been limited. Hopefully the reuniting of Sezer and Elgey, with the game against him against Newcastle, on the back of the returns of Greg Bird and Beau Falloon in the forwards will be the impetus he needs.
It will be the first time all four players – the team’s spine of hooker, half and five-eighth plus their most aggressive forward – have all been together since round four, and Elgey and Sezer’s first game together since round 13.
Roberts, who admitted to missing Sezer’s creativity on the Titans right side. It will also be the first time mid-season signing Nene Macdonald has played with Sezer and Elgey as a combination.
Roberts said Elgey and Sezer had been sorely missed.
“It’s good to have them back, they had a good combination and me and Sezer had a good combination on the right side too,” Roberts said. “Seze being out made it a bit hard for me but I know I have to lift my game individually too and that’s what the boys have spoken about this week.”
Also reuniting on the right edge is speedster David Mead outside of Roberts. It will be the first time Sezer, Roberts and Mead have combined on the right side since round 10, when they had formed one of the fastest outside back partnerships in the NRL.
Sezer said he is looking forward to taking on the Broncos and playing alongside young half Elgey again.
“It’s exciting, it’s obviously been a couple of weeks and the results have been a bit disappointing over that time, but back this week for the local derby against the Broncos who are at the other end of the table, so it will be a good test for us,” he said.
“Me and ‘Elg’ were going along nicely, but injuries stung our progression so it will be good to get back out there with him. It’s about individual accountability and knowing the job you have to do in this team, we’ve had a few disappointing results so hopefully we can turn that around with a good performance against the Broncos.”
Despite a near full strength Titans team, coach Neil Henry has focused on individual performance and responsibility during the week. Henry was also quick to warn his players they couldn’t rely on the inclusion of Sezer to spark them against Brisbane on Friday night.
“He hasn’t played footy for a while now, and it was like Birdy (Greg Bird) last week, he wasn’t going to be the catalyst for us going better, he could help us a little bit, but the team really needs to lift,” Henry said.
“The players have been talking about accountability and fixing their own game individually then that will collectively help the team. “