Mitch’s Musings: Farewell Burgess, and the curious case of Benjamin Roberts


By @ItsMitchell180

Cheer up, everyone. Did you know the Chinese use the same word for ‘crisis’ as they do for ‘opportunity’?

Yep it’s a crisitunity.

I don’t want to drag on about yesterday’s events but in case you somehow missed it: Sam Burgess might have held the first successful secret meeting in rugby league history during last year’s Rugby League World Cup, and it looks as if he’s agreed to ditch the NRL and play the other code in a chance to play in their world cup.

My care factor is zero.

If he goes, let him go: the game is and will always be bigger than any player. I’m sure Sam will enjoy the wonderful cash — I mean — opportunity in rugby union.

Given the RWC is a bit over a year away the timing makes sense, but I do wonder if 2013 was a turning point where the some of the shine came off Sam, when some noticeably dodgy tactics (most notably the squirrel grip he performed on Will Chambers) were no longer seen as a joke but punished by the judiciary.

Speaking of signings the surprising news of January 23, 2014 was that the Melbourne Storm had signed Ben Roberts.

Now my first reaction was a bit of shock (and to delete my tweets regarding Ben in the past), but you after thinking about if for the past two weeks it might not be as crazy as I thought.

It’s a signing that was definitely met with humour from the other 15 clubs’ supporters and hopeful optimism at best from the Storm supporters, but i’d take Roberts over Lote Tuqiri or Joel Reddy any day.

However, Ben does add experience having played over 100 NRL games and test matches for New Zealand and Samoa, so players like Cody Walker and Ben Hampton will definitely learn from him.

[Sorry, I have to butt in here… really? — JJ]

Playing wise, yes, Ben has played a lot in the NSW cup over the past few seasons and the first grade matches he has played…. let’s just say leave a lot to be desired. However, he is unlikely to be the first choice 5/8, so an impact role from the bench becomes a viable option.

The Roosters showed last season the value in having a bench hooker, and while Smith is an 80 minute player it wouldn’t be crazy to see him rested for 15-20 minute periods (especially considering his heavy workload). In this department someone like Joel Romelo is Ben’s biggest competitor.

Yes, he probably will play most of the season in the NSW Cup, but come Origin time he’ll be valuable when the Storm’s ‘Big 3’ are playing with Queensland in what will hopefully be a series loss.

2294396It will probably be Craig Bellamy’s greatest achievement if Ben Roberts was talked about at the end of 2014 in the same breath as Brett White, Brian Norrie and Matt King i.e. late bloomers who excelled at the Storm. And if someone is capable of getting the best of Ben Roberts, it’s Bellamy.

We have seen glimpses of his talent over the years but said glimpses are few and very far between. His game needs to be simplified and restricted to a role: running the ball should be his game plan for 2014 because the miracle plays are not his go.

I’m not saying Ben will win the Dally M [a ballsy prediction — JJ], but like most Storm players he just needs to play the role given to him.


2 responses to “Mitch’s Musings: Farewell Burgess, and the curious case of Benjamin Roberts

  1. A cerebral network, and Robert’s head… a long-shot, but perhaps Dr Bellamy can lay some new neural pathways and light them up and on cue? Is there a Chinese translation for chance fat?


    • he can be a miracle worker… but even the best doctors can’t help everyone.

      I used to be big on his potential, and maybe he’s jst had some shitty coaching, btu he has really fallen off in recent years. the tools are there, but he’s never been able to put it all together.

      Maybe Dr Bellamy can, and if he does he deserves a Nobel.


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