'Jimmy the Jet' released by South Sydney

Scott Bailey
·2-min read

James Roberts won't play for South Sydney again after being released from the final year of his contract by the NRL club on personal grounds.

After weeks of speculation, the Rabbitohs confirmed on Tuesday that Roberts would head for the exit door to bring his second stint at Souths to an end.

As quick as any centre in the competition at his best, the player known affectionately as Jimmy the Jet hasn't played since injuring his pectoral muscle in July.

He also spent part of the COVID shutdown in rehab as he sought treatment on his mental health, before coach Wayne Bennett eased him back into first grade.

"With the support of Souths, I am working closely with professionals to get myself healthy and into a position where I can play my best footy and support my family," Roberts said in a statement.

"Souths have been very supportive during this period, helping me to focus on the recovery from my pec injury and providing support for Anna, me and the kids."

It comes as the Rabbitohs attempt to navigate cap space in their backline, with Latrell Mitchell a long-term No.1 and Corey Allan also pushing for a full-time spot.

Dane Gagai is a Queensland State of Origin centre, Campbell Graham was a contender for NSW this year while Alex Johnston is on track to be the club's all-time leading try-scorer.

But the future is more uncertain for Roberts.

A State of Origin flyer just two years ago, Roberts left Brisbane in 2019 to follow Bennett at the Rabbitohs.

But he now finds his career at a crossroads at age 27 after months of discussions with the Rabbitohs.

The Kempsey junior has scored 74 tries in 149 NRL games and would be an asset to most clubs' backlines.

However, he has now had five stints at four separate clubs with his early days heavily plagued by off-field incidents.

It remains unclear which clubs will show an interest in him for 2021 and beyond.