CASTLEFORD TIGERS today confirmed the signing of Melbourne Storm stand-off Ben Roberts on a two-year contract beginning next season.
Roberts, 28, was born in Sydney and has represented both New Zealand and Samoa.
He will replace Marc Sneyd who is set to join Hull next year, at the end of his season-long loan from Salford Red Devils.
Explaining his move to Cas, Roberts said: “Obviously I only signed at the Storm for one year and we were not quite sure what I was going to do after this year, in terms of hanging around or possibly going overseas.
“I suggested to my manager that we should have a fish out and about, just to see what was out there.
“It just so happened that Castleford came in the picture, so I was trying to find out a bit of information about the club.
“I heard nothing but good things and they came from people who had played there in the past.”
Roberts has watched “a few” of Tigers’ games and added: “My good friend Brent Sherwin played there a couple of years ago and I spoke with him in regards to what his thoughts were and what his experience was like at the club and to be honest he had nothing but good things to say.
“That was very similar to what other people said, specifically about the club having a great culture and having good people working behind the scenes to get things going.
“Another big thing is the team itself. The players they have at the club have a very close bond and one thing I noticed from the outside is the way they play.
“They look like they play for each other. That is always a good thing for a player. For me, that was one of the main things. Also, the fans were a factor as well.
“Castleford have great fans and they are probably the best fans in the whole competition when you look at how well they travel.
“They are real passionate, so I am looking forward to the atmosphere and hearing those people cheer for me and the team.”
Of his style of play, Roberts said: “I would have to say my running game is one of my strongest attributes.
“I like to think I have a pretty good all-round kicking game, I am offensively strong, but overall I would have to think I am pretty skilful.
“I would say I am a team player too and I will do the best I can for the team. “
Tigers coach Daryl Powell is excited by what Roberts will bring to the club and Super League.
“Obviously he has got quite a few NRL games under his belt,” he said.
“He is a player I think will be ideally suited to Super League. He plays left side and he is a left footed kicker which is exactly what we were looking for in our team for next year.
“He is quick and athletic and he is a smart player who can play in the centres as well.
“He is a really good addition.”
Roberts began his top-flight career with Canterbury Bulldogs in 2006. He was at Parramatta Eels in 2012 and 2013 and joined Melbourne Storm ahead of the current campaign, after playing in all four of Samoa’s matches in last year’s World Cup.
Tigers have also signed forward Junior Moors from Melbourne for next year and Powell added: “It is good to have a couple of players who know a bit about each other.
“That will help them both settle in.
“Ben has been in good environments and I think he’s a player we will be able to get a lot out of.
“I still see a fair bit of improvement in him, but he has got a lot of quality, he is very athletic and his ability to break the line will be great in Super League.”