Legend calls for Broncos to come clean on Roberts
BEN Ikin has called on the Brisbane Broncos to end the speculation surrounding James Roberts' future at the club.
With Roberts left out of first grade for the second week in a row, speculation is rife that the Broncos are trying to offload Roberts because he has fallen out of favour with new coach Anthony Seibold.
Ikin believes the fans deserve clarification.
"This guy was a NSW State of Origin centre less than 12 months ago and he cannot crack it for a start in an NRL side," Ikin told NRL 360.
"He is languishing in reserve grade.
"What I don't understand is how these conversations can't be held truthfully and publicly so the fans get a sense for what is going on.
"I hate the misdirection. Surely we have got to grow up as a game in that way."
It has been a stunning fall from grace for the incumbent Blues' centre, whose off-field behaviour and attitude are believed to have failed to live up to Anthony Seibold's strict standards.
"It is not horrible that a new coach arrives at a club and doesn't see eye to eye with a star player and because of certain reasons they want to part company," Ikin conceded.
"But this smoke and mirrors about, 'no he hasn't requested a release' and it is this and it is that has got to stop."
Reports linking Roberts to a move to South Sydney to reunite with former coach Wayne Bennett have cooled, with the Rabbitohs' mentor denying the club is chasing the representative centre.
"I think South Sydney are losing interest and he might be a good player stuck without a club," Paul Kent said.
Anthony Mundine even weighed in on the speculation. He believes Roberts has been treated unfairly and that there is more to Seibold's decision to demote the speedster.
"We know what type of player he is. He just hasn't been shown any love, to be honest,'' Mundine told Channel 7.
"Obviously there's an issue, a personal issue, I believe.
"Whether it's between the coaching staff and James or whether they don't like his attitude, for Jack Bird to be out and then put somebody else in - it doesn't sit right with me.''
Seibold revealed his reasons for leaving Roberts out for round 10, saying Gehamat Shibasaki and Kotoni Staggs deserved their shot and denying that Roberts had asked for a release.
"(Staggs and Shibasaki) have both been training well and any opportunities they've had this year, whether it's Queensland Cup or NRL, they've both performed really admirably so it was more about rewarding those guys," Seibold said.
"Jimmy will be in the 21 this week and we'll make a decision later in the week on who actually starts at centre there, but Jimmy's had no conversation with me about leaving the club."