Benny Roberts Interview

Benny Roberts Interview

Rugby league baller Benny Roberts is one of the latest people to join the #CaveGang and this guy does not mess about! Wearing the AURA+, Benny plays with power and dictates games with his clinical performances and after Castleford Tigers just picked up the League Leaders Shield we thought it’d be a great opportunity to sit down with the man himself...

What’s your background?

I was born and raised in Australia but both of my parents are of Samoan heritage.

What got you into Rugby League?

Basically, Rugby League has always been a part of my family’s life. They played at semi-pro level and my brother played rugby also so it was easy for me to follow that and easy for my parents if we all played the same sport. I started when I was 4, and played ever since.

Does your brother still play rugby?

Not properly anymore. I have 2 brothers so all three of us played during our childhood, and I was the one who wanted to kick on with it.

What was the first club you played for?

At amateur level it was New Island Jets which was a small country Rugby League club, which was about an hour and a half away from Sydney.

So were you raised in Sydney?

Yes in the south west of Sydney, about an hour outside the city centre.

Was rugby accessible to you growing up in Sydney?

Well, my first amateur club wasn’t tied to an NRL club so eventually I had to leave for a club that was. When I was 13, I signed with an amateur club called Fairfield which was a junior club and it went on from there – playing representative rugby for under 16s, 18s, 20s and so on.

What age did you become a professional?

I signed my first full-time contract when I was 17 at West Tigers, but I was still at High School at the time. I did 2 years there but never played first grade but I was in the full-time squad. Then I got my shot when I was 19 to play my first professional game at Kenridge Bulldogs.

At what age did you realise that rugby could be a career for you?

My old man works hard, he’s always worked hard long hours so me and my brothers didn’t get to see him that much, as he was doing night shifts. I think rugby for me, was their plan, for any of us to try and give ourselves a better life. Because of our big builds, we weren’t really suited to soccer so rugby was the game for us. The belief of my parents is something that I’ll forever be thankful for, they never made it seem impossible for us to play professional rugby. My old man always put it down to hard work and something I had to believe in. School wasn’t the thing for me. I got in a bit of trouble when I was a kid, found it hard to listen but when it came to rugby, that was something I was fully focussed on even at a young age.

Did you ever try your hand at any other sports?

Well my Mum and Dad loved their sports in general. My Dad loved his rugby union and my Mum loved netball and stuff like that. They got us into athletics and always kept us active as young boys. My Mum came from a boxing family, all her brothers were pro boxers. My cousin on my Dad’s side is Tim Cahill, who played for Everton – so he was more suited for soccer. Growing up we always hung out with them and played soccer with them but never tried it properly as a sport. I think rugby was our only option.

Does Tim ever come to watch you play?

When he came back to Australia in the off-season, he’d come and watch a few games. We still talk and chat every now and then. I talked to him about coming to England, about the lifestyle. I didn’t realise how tough it could be.

What was the hardest part about coming to live in England?

Definitely not having all my family around. When you come from a family-orientated environment, you could do anything with them any time. When I want to take my wife out, it’s hard not having that support around. But you just have to make do, it’s not forever and it’s to set yourself up for later on in life so you’ve just got to remember why you’re doing it.

When did you first come over to England?

2014-15, and I found it tough. I broke my foot at the start of the season so I pretty much missed that whole year. This has probably been my first proper year, and it’s going pretty good at the moment.

What’s been the biggest change at the club from last season to being top of the league this season?

If you ask anyone in our squad or at the club, it’s no surprise at how well we’ve done this year. It’s not happened over night. The first year I signed here in 2015, they’d been improving every year in terms of signings. They’ve made some smart signings in terms of benefitting the team. Yes we finished 6th last year but what people don’t realise is that we had about 13 of the 17 starters out injured all year and we still managed to finish 6th. The younger guys got their opportunity and they took it and played really well. For us, that was a massive achievement, considering the injuries. We knew if we could stay fit this year, we could be where we are now.

Who was your first professional game against?

New Zealand Warriors. It was pretty daunting. They were known for having a big team. But we won so it was a good game.

Any game that stands out as your best performance in your career?

Yes, playing against Brisbane Broncos in 2009. I was marked up against the best player in the world at the time (Darren Lockyer) and I pretty much played all over him that night. Stats wise I was very good. That sort of set the level I needed to be at, in my game. But consistency is something I’ve struggled with. Due to life off the field and the way I prepared for games. Being young I took things for granted and I think that’s one thing I’ve learnt that there’s always room for improvement. That’s the main goal as a professional, you want to just keep improving and this mind set has only come about in the last 3-4 years.

What’s changed your attitude?

I think family. Being young, you’ve got the world at your feet. You think you’ve got all the time in the world to knuckle down, so I thought this was time to party. But since meeting my wife, it's put things into perspective and I’ve got to support my wife and kids.

How did you come across Concave boots?

I’d heard of them before but Jake Webster, he’s a big fan of them and he told me about them and was parading them about in training, so I thought ‘why not try them out’.

What was your first experience of the boots like?

I loved them! From the design to the comfort. I’m not a footwear expert but the biggest thing for me is to have control of the ball when I’m kicking it and the boots felt really good when kicking the ball.

Which silo is your favourite?

I love the Halo’s but the Aura for me! The leather and the comfort makes them the best for me.

What about life outside of rugby?

At the moment I’m doing a bit of studying. For a bit of strength and conditioning, which is something I think I’d be interested in after finishing rugby. Other than that, it’s just mainly family time and I’m pretty fortunate to have so much time with my kids. So days off, I can do things with them and take them places, which keeps the wife happy – happy wife, happy life.

Do you follow any other sports?

I like UFC and boxing, so I follow them mainly. Other than that not really.

What music are you into?

I like my old school R&B, like Boys II Men, Brian McKnight – all the slow jams.

Any TV shows or box sets that you’re watching?

At the moment, I’m into Game of Thrones. The latest episode was crazy. I’m also into Power, Tommy’s my favourite, he’s the man.

Writen by Concave @ 05/10/2017 02:43

  • Benny Roberts
  • Interview
  • Castleford Tigers