Halves pairing work in progress
He admits that his combination with Ashley Taylor needs time to develop but Titans five-eighth Tyrone Roberts said they both must provide better direction for their teammates ahead of Saturday’s showdown with the Bulldogs in Sydney.
Sidelined for two weeks with a knee injury, Roberts returned in Saturday’s 19-14 loss to the Dragons at Cbus Super Stadium to assume the role as the dominant half after Taylor had been asked to step up in his absence.
Roberts scored a brilliant individual try midway through the second half that got the Titans back within striking distance and he finished the game with 113 metres from nine runs along with 333 kick metres compared to Taylor’s 102 kick metres.
The pair have developed a strong bond off the field and have shown signs of combining well on it but the return of Roberts seemed to send Taylor retreating back into his shell.
The 21-year-old’s short kicking game that had been a feature over the previous fortnight was off against the Dragons, releasing the pressure valve on a resolute St George Illawarra defence time and again.
On a number of occasions on the last tackle the ball failed to find either of the Titans’ two halves and Roberts said it is incumbent on him and Taylor to communicate better with the rest of the team.
"It's been all right," Roberts said of their burgeoning combination that is just five NRL games old. "Me and ‘Kingy’ (Titans coach Neil Henry) and Ash are trying to get me and Ash to play together a bit more but we're still adapting to that.
"There's still a lot of improvement with the execution of our kicks but me and Ash are still going all right.
"We just put ourselves under pressure and our forwards are under the pump and sometimes they don't listen.
"We've just got to make sure we're being dominant and our calls get to them so they know what they're doing."
The former Knight had been hopeful of missing only the one week with bone bruising in his knee and travelled with the team to Cronulla in Round 6 to assist Taylor with his preparation.
Last year’s under-20s player of the year scored an excellent try against the Sharks and has vowed to run the ball more, Roberts encouraging him to take the lead when he sees an attacking opportunity in front of him.
"He's just got to keep backing himself, he can't carry his divots. He's got to move on straight away and take the next step," Roberts told NRL.com.
"He's got the skill to turn it around but we've just got to get a bit better about telling the other boys our roles.
"He needs to call it when it's on and it's the best option. We’ve just got to take the opportunities when they come and he's got to realise when it's on and he's got to take it instead of waiting for the next play.
"He's been going well. I've been out and he's been controlling it and he's been taking the line on which is good. He's just got to keep doing that, keep building and keep taking more runs and backing himself.
"And he will do that, when he has a couple more games and has the confidence in himself to do that."
This story first appeared on nrl.com.au