Once all "flash and show", James Roberts' gritty display in Brisbane's 22-20 NRL win over Canterbury has convinced Wayne Bennett the NSW hopeful is finally ready for State of Origin.
Roberts sparked the Suncorp Stadium win on Thursday night when his probing run set up Joe Ofahengaue's 75th-minute try that levelled the scores before producing a kick that ensured a controversial finish.
Bulldogs No.1 Moses Mbye was contentiously sin binned for a professional foul in the 79th minute after making contact with Darius Boyd as the Brisbane fullback tried to regather the Roberts kick and score.
Brisbane (5-4 record) slotted the resulting penalty to seal their third win in four games.
There were no flashy plays or trademark 50m runs from Roberts - and that's just how Bennett liked it.
And he reckoned NSW selectors might appreciate it too.
"He is doing the things I haven't see him do in the past. That's the tough things that you have got to do at Origin level when it is not going for you," Bennett said.
"You just knuckle down and do your job and not become a liability. I think he is in a good place to be able to do that (for NSW)."
Roberts, 25, backed up from his stellar last round display against South Sydney to run 100m in a busy but no frills effort against a luckless Bulldogs.
Roberts' transformation since first arriving at the Broncos two years ago looks set to put him in contention for a NSW right centre berth with incumbent Josh Dugan battling a broken foot ahead of June 6's Origin.
"He was all flash and show when he arrived here," Bennett said of Roberts, a 2015 NSW City Origin rep.
"When he was not getting the ball he kind of didn't want to participate.
"Two years on he has learned how to be a good pro and learned a lot of things that are making the difference for us without the star 50m run."
Once the rock star of Brisbane's backline, Bennett said Roberts was now simply the Broncos' "rock".
"His defence is really good. He's probably the most heavily marked guy in the game - everyone knows you can't give him half a metre," Bennett said.
"I am just pleased he is doing a lot of the little things that he didn't do when he first got here.
"He is a bit of a rock for us at the moment."