Josh sticks to baseball
THE bricks understandably felt that little bit heavier for Josh Roberts yesterday morning.
The rugby league playing, baseball belting brickies’ labourer was at work as usual. But having played FOGS Cup for Ipswich on Saturday and Ipswich Rugby League A-grade for Norths on Sunday, he was feeling the aches more than usual.
Remarkably, given his standing as one of the IRL’s best players of the past five years, the 24-year-old was making his Jets debut on Saturday.
He starred in their 44-4 win over the Sunshine Coast playing centre, before scoring three tries from five-eight as Norths went down to Swifts on Sunday.
“Biggsy (Jets FOGS Cup coach Jarrod Biggs) gave me a call and said the team was short on numbers,” Roberts said of the circumstances behind his Jets debut. “I sort of thought I’d help him out.”
It is not something he plans on doing regularly. Though, being the bloke he is, Roberts will find it hard not to answer any future calls from good friend and Norths teammate Biggs.
His Norths coach Kerry Theuerkauf is probably not too keen either, given Norths’ already long injury toll this season, though is not likely to stand in Roberts’ way.
The reason Roberts has not played with the Jets before – and why the praises sung by Jets Queensland Cup co-coach Ben Walker will fall on deaf ears – is because rugby league remains Roberts’ second passion.
Walker said after Saturday’s game that if Roberts took his footy “a bit more seriously,” he’d be welcomed into the club’s Queensland Cup squad.
But while rugby league clashes with his beloved baseball it will be the one that gets sacrificed.
“If we could work it around that it’d be alright,” the Brisbane Bandits star slugger said.
“But I can’t work it in with baseball. I wouldn’t be able to train until after Christmas.”
Roberts trialled with a Japanese professional baseball club unsuccessfully this year.
However, the prospect of representing Brisbane in the semi-professional Australian Baseball League is more attractive than playing Queensland Cup.
“I’m happy playing for the Bandits,” he said. “I get to travel around Australia.
“I also wake up a bit fresher the next day (than I do playing league).”
Baseball may be the priority but Roberts’ passion for his beloved Norths Tigers can’t be underestimated.
Despite backing up he turned in a typically committed display against Swifts. With three determined tries and astute guidance from pivot, he dragged his team back into a game it seemed out of at half-time.
“It would have been nice to get a win,” Roberts said.
“We just didn’t show up ready to go in the first 20 minutes.”
That is ironic, given Roberts did, despite playing a full game the day before.