James Roberts is set to make his Intrust Cup debut.
James Roberts is set to make his Intrust Cup debut.

Brutal welcoming committee awaits demoted James Roberts

A FORMER Titans clubmate and a crash-tackler who cleaned up Jarryd Hayne are lying in wait for demoted Bronco James Roberts in his Intrust Super Cup debut on Sunday.

Roberts is poised for what could be a bruising debut for Wynnum-Manly in the Intrust Super Cup match.

his direct opponent should be the experienced Connor Broadhurst, who went through the Parramatta and Gold Coast systems before joining the Devils.

Wynnum coach Adam Brideson has deferred to Roberts' ability by moving his Queensland Residents centre Delouise Hoeter to the wing to allow Roberts to play his favoured right centre position.

"James is a very talented player and we look forward to welcoming him into our side,'' Brideson said.

"Norths are in form and have been strong at home - it will be a big game for our club."

While Broadhurst, who has played 97 Intrust Super Cup matches and more than 50 in the now defunct NRL under-20s competition, will mark Roberts, the Bronco must also be on alert for rugged Devils backrower Nixon Putt.

Putt's tackling ability is well known to former NRL star Hayne, who stopped as if he has hit a barn door after colliding with Putt during a Test between Hayne's Fijian team and Papua New Guinea two years ago.

Broadhurst - a teacher, and childhood friend of fellow Baralaba junior Corey Oates - was at the Titans when Roberts was with the club.

Broadhurstplayed for Queensland Residents in their win over NSW two weeks ago.

Broncos scouts will watch Roberts closely, viewing not simply his form but his fitness.

His chances of returning to first grade will hinge on applying himself to the challenge of playing in the lower league as well as showing his condition has not dropped off despite his on and off-field challenges.