Titan James Roberts free to play after dropping of charges

JAMES Roberts will be available for Gold Coast's opening game of 2015 after two charges which threatened to derail his NRL career were dropped for lack of evidence.

Roberts was arrested in Surfers Paradise on October 25 and charged with public nuisance and obstructing police. He appeared in the Southport Magistrates Court yesterday morning where the charges were dismissed.

The decision was a huge relief for the 21-year-old centre, already on thin ice after being punted by Penrith and South Sydney for alcohol-fuelled indiscretions.

While Roberts (pictured) can now direct his focus to next season, the Titans' disciplinary committee and chief executive Graham Annesley will decide today on what action to take against Greg Bird.

The club co-captain was issued with an infringement notice for allegedly urinating on a police car just hours after his wedding in Byron Bay last weekend.

The Titans could send a strong message by suspending Bird for the first two or three games of next season.

While a tough call, it would be well-received by those fed up with the behaviour of players who continue to embarrass the code.

Titans coach Neil Henry, however, said the publicity generated by Bird's behaviour, and Roberts' court appearance, had not been a distraction to the players.

"It's been a bit isolated. There would be a bit of an effect about it with the media coverage. But he (Bird) is due at training tomorrow, so he'll be keen to get back amongst the boys," Henry said.

Promising Manly player Jamil Hopoate has been sentenced to at least 12 months' jail for assaulting a man outside a hotel on Sydney's northern beaches.

Downing Centre Local Court magistrate Jane Mottley described the attack, which happened on Valentine's Day this year, as "savage and unprovoked".

Lawyers for the 20-year-old had argued he should be spared jail because of his age and the likely impact on his mental health.

Hopoate was hugged and kissed by his father John before being taken into custody by corrections officers.

- with APN SPORTS BUREAU



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