Roberts rises to the top

Amos Roberts has been one of the success stories of the new Super League season, helping his Wigan side to the top of the table.

He hardly set Super League alight in his first season last year, but the Aussie has rediscovered the form that made the Warriors bring him over from Sydney Roosters.

After seven games in Super League XV, Roberts has stacked up an impressive 10 tries; just two shy of his tally for the whole of the 2009 season. He has already made as many assists as he did last year (6), and heads the table for the most metres made (1113), the most clean breaks (12), and the most tackle busts (35).

A hat-trick of tries and three more assists against Castleford on Sunday prompted praise from Wigan boss Michael Maguire, who said: “Amos has got that X-factor about him. He came up with some individual brilliance. I got him to work hard in pre-season and he’s been playing outstandingly well.”

Roberts’ form is perhaps all the more impressive with the fact that he has had to swap and change between wing and full-back positions this season; deputising for the unlucky Cameron Phelps on several occasions. And he has adjusted remarkably well, proving his former coach, Brian Noble, wrong.

Last year Noble opted for Pat Richards at full-back whenever the need for cover arose – an option which, if anything, only served to blunt Wigan’s attack. The same cannot be said when Roberts has played there this year – he seems to instinctively know when and where to join the line in attack, and returns deep kicks better than anyone.

‘Famous Amos’ came to prominence in his first season in the NRL in 2000, whilst playing for St. George Illawarra Dragons. In fact, on his debut he scored 22 points (1 try and 9 goals) against the Auckland Warriors, and raced to 8 tries in just 13 appearances overall.

The following year he managed a respectable 13 tries, but failed to better that tally until 2004, when he moved to the Penrith Panthers. He scored 23 tries in 23 appearances for the Panthers, making him the NRL’s top try scorer, and prompting him to be named the winger of the year at the 2004 Dally M awards. In 2005 he moved to the Sydney Roosters, where he stayed for 4 seasons, scoring 54 tries in 88 appearances. But it is his one and only season at Penrith which remains his most productive year to date.

We are only seven weeks into the 2010 season, but it already promises much for Amos Roberts. Could this, his 11th season in the top grade be his best ever?

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