THERE are great hopes that former Gold Coast Titans half-back Tyrone Roberts is the man to relight the spark at The Halliwell Jones Stadium this year, bringing the experience of more than 100 NRL games. Mike Parsons catches up with him.

Q: Not many players who are approaching their prime in the NRL are joining Super League these days, so why did you opt to make the move?

A: To have respect as a player. I spoke to Steve Price (Wolves head coach) and a lot of players who have been here before and they said it’s a great club and a great experience. I just wanted to experience it.

At first I didn’t want to come because I knew I was playing some good footy and had a two-year contract with Gold Coast Titans.

But I thought I had Steve’s respect as a player and in the position I want to play in. He told me about the club and said he’d take care of my family which was a big plus.

Q: Is it right to assume you’re wanting to play in the halves then?

A: Yeah. I wanted to play in the halves over there, but I was playing in four different positions.

I grew up being a player that other players wanted to play with. I pride myself on that and hopefully I can do the same here.

Q: Is it a case of wanting to prove yourself again by changing from the NRL to Super League?

A: No, not really. I want to play footy, it doesn’t matter whether it’s in Australia or over here. I just want to play footy and be respected as a player. And in doing that, knowing my family is being taken care of.

Q: A lot of structured rugby will be apparent this year but you do produce off-the-cuff magic too, don’t you?

A: You’ll just have to wait and see. I can’t predict that, I don’t know what I’m going to do myself.

Q: From what you’ve seen so far do you feel that it’s a group you can lead around the field in the halves role?

A: Well, we’ve got Kevin Brown here and he was here last year too. He leads the boys around already, so I’m just going to make sure that I do my role and just complement him with his role as well, and make sure we look out for each other.

Q: Has Steve Price spoken to you about what he expects from you?

A: Being a half, you have that expectation already. It’s making sure I know my role and what I can do for the team and doing it the best I can.

Q: How’s things been knitting together in training?

A: It’s a new group. A lot of the World Cup boys weren’t there early on so there was a lot of young boys learning. I’ve been learning too, because coming from the NRL I have to adapt to footy over here.

Training’s been good. It was pretty hard to change from the hot heat back home to training on ice.

Credit to the boys, they’ve welcomed me with open arms and showed me all the ins and outs of where the great places are both in and out of training.

Q: Has the group been receptive to the changes Steve has brought in?

A: You do see it when you’re watching and living it. I’ve seen it in the NRL and I think that’s exactly what he’s trying to do here. You just have to buy in because if you don’t it’s going to be hard to play a game.

Everyone’s bought into it at this stage. It’s going to be hard. You can’t just do combinations over four weeks, such as with the England World Cup boys, you have to build it in order to progress and make sure you know their role and that they know who you are in order to complement each other.

It is a long task but it’s got to come together pretty fast.

Q: Can we expect to see the team playing one style through the year, or will it develop – perhaps when pitches get firmer in warmer weather?

A: You’ve got to adapt, that’s the key to playing football. You’ve got to adapt to different teams that you play against because of different styles.

We’ll do video and do our research and make sure we come prepared to play each team.

Q: You like playing in all kinds of weather, don’t you?

A: You’ve got to adapt. You can’t think too much ahead, you’ve just got to play what’s in front of you. You can only do what you can control.

Q: It’s likely to be wet at the start of the season, what’s the key to playing in wet weather?

A: Your kicking is a big part of a wet game because you need the field position.

In saying that, that’s also for dry pitches, but you’ve got to shorten your pass. You can’t throw long balls because it’s easier to defend.

But you’ve got to weigh up who you’re playing against, whether they’re compressed or not. You have to do your research but you can’t predict because it could be a dry pitch or wet. You certainly play what’s in front of you.

Q: You’re here as a marquee signing, expectations of the fans are going to be high, have you prepared for that, are you expecting it and how will you deal with it?

A: I guess it comes with being a half back, you sort of run the team. If you don’t run the team properly, you’re going to hear from the fans.

From what I’ve heard, the fans of this community love their footy, they love the game.

I grew up in Newcastle (Australia) and it was the same kind of community there.

I just want to make sure that I give what I can and hopefully that just complements everyone else.

Q: What do you make of Warrington as a town so far?

A: It’s a great town, a great community. I’ve heard so much about the fans and how loyal they are to the game.

It’s a great place and I just can’t wait to see what happens on the pitch.

Q: You managed to nip home at Christmas, it must have been good to see your family again after travelling over without them?

A: I went home to pick the family up. I left them over there so I could focus on training over here, let them enjoy a bit of sunlight too.

I was only there for eight days. I went see her family and my family as well, and to refresh.

I did some training while I was home too. The boys were playing some footy over here (Widnes), so I did some training over there on my own.

Q: It must have been a wrench to leave behind your partner Brittany and daughters Leilani, 3, and Chilli who was 13 weeks old at the time?

A: I’d never been away from the family that long, four weeks without them was pretty hard.

Brittany was back in Newcastle with her family. It’s a big ask for her to move away, something I’ve done before when I was young.

When I first got here I struggled a little bit without the family, just being on the other side of the world training in the cold.

It was hard but it was a challenge I was willing to take when I made the decision to sign.

Now the family’s here, we’re all happy and it’s much easier for me the second time to transition. I knew what to expect.

Q: Does it put you in a better state of mind knowing your family’s here to go home to after training?

A: Definitely, knowing I can go home and see my family is a big key. It keeps me happy and keeps me humble.