• The Rabbitohs confirmed on Tuesday the NSW State of Origin centre had entered rehabilitation for a third time. (AAP)Source: AAP
The South Sydney star has been backed to return to his best in season 2020 after he checked himself into a rehabilitation clinic two weeks ago.
Jodan Perry

Over the Black Dot, AAP-NITV
12 May 2020 - 4:13 PM  UPDATED 12 May 2020 - 4:25 PM

South Sydney and Indigenous All Stars representative James Roberts has entered a rehabilitation facility for the third time since 2016 to address and support his mental well-being.

In a statement on behalf of Roberts and his family, the South Sydney NRL club confirmed the move and asked for the public to respect his privacy.

Roberts' good friend and former World Boxing Champion Anthony Mundine told NITV News that the Rabittohs flyer had done the right thing and should be commended for reaching out.

"He is owning up that he has a problem, and in order to overcome it he's doing everything possible to get a hold of it," said Mundine.

"I know a lot of people that are in denial that have problems and they don't think they do, but you can't help anybody unless they want to help themselves, and Jimmy is showing [that] by what he has done.

"He not only wants to help himself, he wants to save himself."

Mundine said that for young NRL players like Roberts, rugby league can be a "safe haven" where they can run out and perform their talents and put the other pressures in their lives on hold.

The Coronavirus restrictions and self-isolation has had a dramatic effect on these athletes who thrive in the team environment, and whose identities rely on the game, he said.

Roberts first entered a facility in Thailand in 2016 following a number of incidents while playing at the Brisbane Broncos. He went back in 2018 to deal with personal issues.

The 27-year-old made the move to South Sydney midway through last season to reunite with coach Wayne Bennett, who he shares a close bond with.

Despite the news that Roberts has returned to rehab, Mundine is confident the man known as "Jimmy the Jet" can bounce back this season.

"Oh definitely, he has too much talent to let go," he said.

 "I am very proud of the brother and what he has done. He has done this before and he's willing to do it again. I will be there for him I will try and help be a shining light in his corner." 

Mundine also said he's aware of a number of players that are struggling with mental health issues and stressed the importance of reaching out to somebody to talk.

"They have more support than they realise. Have a conversation, talk to somebody about your problem, whoever you feel comfortable with to release your burden," he said.

If you or someone you know is struggling with their mental health, please contact Lifeline on 13 11 14, Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636 or reach out to your local Aboriginal Medical Service.

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