Rabbitohs star Roberts checks into rehab
JAMES Roberts' career is at the crossroads with the South Sydney and former Broncos star checking himself into a rehabilitation facility.
News Corp can reveal Roberts admitted himself to rehab two weeks ago following private discussions with South Sydney officials including chief executive Blake Solly and coach Wayne Bennett.
The Rabbitohs are rallying around Roberts and will release a statement Tuesday confirming his stint in rehabilitation.
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It is the third time the former NSW Origin ace has sought professional help after two previous visits to an overseas rehab facility in Thailand to address issues with alcohol, anxiety and depression.
Souths officials are deeply concerned for Roberts' emotional wellbeing and have been providing support over the past 14 days.
It is understood alcohol abuse is not at the core of Roberts' current situation, with the 27-year-old instead dealing with some personal demons.
Just 12 months ago, Roberts was thrown a lifeline by the Rabbitohs and Bennett, his former coach at the Broncos, after falling out of favour at Red Hill under new Brisbane coach Anthony Seibold.
Once regarded as the fastest man in the NRL, 'The Jet' had a mixed return to Redfern, scoring one try from 12 games last year.
Determined to recapture his speed and attacking thrust, Roberts had a promising off-season, stripping several kilos this year in a bid to reclaim his NSW Origin jumper.
But Roberts has struggled during the coronavirus pandemic and has gone off the rails in recent weeks, prompting him to seek fresh help with another stint in rehab.
It is not known how long Roberts will remain in rehab. The Rabbitohs are hopeful he will not retire and will return to rugby league at some stage later this season, having lost 8.5kg over summer in a bid to reclaim league's fastest man tag.
He is unlikely to feature in Souths' line-up for the NRL's planned return on May 28.
In 2017 Bennett revealed the extent of Roberts' problems, which included drug use.
Two years ago, Roberts spoke of his private battles, admitting getting the best out of himself in the NRL was a daily battle.
"I'm still a work in progress," he told the NRL's official website.
"I'm always going to have problems in my life. It's just a matter of dealing with them the right way.
"I have certain tools and methods I use when I feel like I'm feeling those kind of pressures. They are the stuff I learnt in Thailand and just by growing as a person.
"I've learnt to avoid certain things and talk about my problems with people I trust. It helps a lot."