Tyrone out of the shadows
Having lived in the shadow of both Jarrod Mullen and Kurt Gidley at Newcastle for the past four years Tyrone Roberts says he has come to the Gold Coast not to lead but to be treated as an equal.
Up until the signing of Roberts on a two-year deal in mid-August the Titans looked as though they would throw all their faith behind the talented young pairing of Kane Elgey and Ashley Taylor but Roberts brings with him 97 games of NRL experience, all of which he has played at the Knights.
A Ballina Seagulls junior who moved to Newcastle at age 14 to attend school and pursue his football dreams, Roberts made his first grade debut as a 19-year-old but predominantly played second fiddle to Newcastle's most dominant playmakers of the past decade, Mullen and Gidley.
Last season with Mullen out injured Roberts scored two tries and kicked three goals in Newcastle's 24-18 win over the Wests Tigers in Round 23 and then a week later was man of the match against the Storm in Melbourne, scoring a try and kicking four goals in the 20-6 upset win.
He has invariably played his better football when handed additional responsibility but told NRL.com that he doesn't intend to be the dominant half at the Titans but an equal contributor to the team.
"I don't want to be a leader and take control as such, I just want to be treated equally," Roberts said.
"That's just the challenge now. I don't want it to be taken as being a leader. I just want to be treated as being equal because I think if you're equal you can get the best out of each other.
"With 'Mullo' and that being there the whole time I was still in their shadows but here is just a new start.
"They're [Elgey and Taylor] starting off new and I'm starting off new and hopefully we can get some good combinations going early."
A latecomer to Titans pre-season training after attending former Newcastle teammate Akuila Uate's wedding in Fiji, Roberts joined the squad for a torturous session on Friday before driving south again for his daughter Leilani's first birthday party in Newcastle.
Leilani and Roberts's partner, Brittany Doran, will join Tyrone on the Gold Coast this week where he can start to really get to know a playing roster that has received a dramatic overhaul over the off-season.
One player with whom he is already very familiar is cousin James Roberts, the pair keeping in regular contact through the middle of the season to try and rekindle a combination that was first born in the under-7s at Ballina.
But long before a Cherry-Evans backflip threw the Titans' recruitment plans into chaos, Roberts said the seed was planted on a pre-season trip last year that the Gold Coast might be an attractive option to further his career.
"I don't know, it's just fate," the 24-year-old said of linking up with his cousin.
"I was up here for a holiday the year before and the missus sort of liked it and when an opportunity came up and with James being here, it was exciting for me because I'll be close to my family and it's a great way to start a new chapter in my life with the new baby.
"Everything happens for a reason and I think it's going to be good, I'm looking forward to it."
This story first appeared on nrl.com.au.