Seibold says Roberts no guarantee to replace injured Bird
A LIFELINE would appear to be on offer for snubbed Brisbane centre James Roberts after Jack Bird broke down with a suspected season-ending knee injury.
But Broncos coach Anthony Seibold has refused to guarantee the NSW State of Origin hopeful an armchair ride back into the starting backline despite losing star centre Bird in Friday's 26-10 NRL win over Manly.
Bird will undergo scans on Saturday after breaking down in the 60th minute of the Suncorp Stadium clash with a suspected ACL injury.
It is a blow for not only Brisbane but also NSW, with Bird in the mix to slot into the Blues' backline for next month's State of Origin series opener.
However, it has opened the door for incumbent Blues centre Roberts to return to the Broncos' 17 and make a belated Origin claim - or so many thought.
While Seibold dismissed speculation Roberts wanted to depart Brisbane, the coach could not confirm whether the X-factor would replace Bird and line up against the Sydney Roosters' Latrell Mitchell next round.
Roberts has been linked to a move to South Sydney - especially after Seibold sensationally dumped the Blues flyer for the round-nine clash against the Sea Eagles, along with winger Jamayne Isaako.
However, Rabbitohs coach Wayne Bennett has ruled out making a play for the Brisbane flyer.
While Seibold admitted Roberts would be a pretty handy replacement for Bird, he gave no promises and said he would be mulling over the best way to blunt arguably the NRL's best player - Mitchell.
Seibold said he would also consider injecting Isaako or Gehamat Shibasaki into the centres in the round-10 clash.
"It's a big challenge for whoever plays at centre there, whether it is Jimmy, Gehamat or Jamayne," Seibold said.
"I want to have a good look at the game and then pick a team on what we are confronting which is Latrell, who is the best left centre in the competition."
But Seibold insisted Roberts - off contract in 2020 - had not fallen out with him at Red Hill despite constant speculation tying the speedster to a Rabbitohs move.
"Regardless of what has been reported, Jimmy hasn't come and seen me and asked to speak to other clubs - he has another 18 months with us," Seibold said.
"I understand there is a bit of speculation around ...(but) Jimmy and Jamayne were dropped after a couple of recent performances.
"But it's good that we have a quality replacement there in James and Jamayne (after Bird's injury) - we have a couple of options there."
In the meantime, Seibold was keeping his fingers crossed for good news from Bird's scans.
"It looks to be serious but I don't want to prejudge what we are going to find," he said.