The immediate NRL future of South Sydney star James Roberts is under a cloud after he checked himself back into a rehabilitation clinic.
The Courier-Mail first revealed Roberts admitted himself into the rehab facility — the third time the 27-year-old has entered rehab.
The report claims Roberts sought help following a meeting with Rabbitohs officials, including coach Wayne Bennett, two weeks ago.
Roberts previously spent time in a Thailand rehabilitation centre in 2016 and again in 2018 to reportedly address alcohol and depression issues.
The report claims Roberts has recently been struggling during the coronavirus pandemic and has “gone off the rails”. Alcohol abuse is not the reason for his decision to enter rehab for a third time, according to the report.
The Rabbitohs confirmed the report on Tuesday morning where the club stated Roberts is undergoing treatment “to assist with and support his health”.
“On behalf of James and his family, we ask the media and the public to respect their privacy,” The Rabbitohs said in a statement.
“No further comment will be made by the Rabbitohs, James, his management or his family at this time.”
The nephew of former NRL player Amos Roberts was sacked by the Rabbitohs in 2012 for breaches of his contracts and the club’s code of behaviour.
He was also moved on from the Panthers before resurrecting his career with the Titans and Broncos.
He reportedly fell out with Broncos coach Anthony Seibold last year before making a high-profile mid-season move to South Sydney where he linked up with former coach Bennett again.
He scored just one try in 12 games for Souths last season, but looked to be in better form in the opening two games of the 2020 season.
The Rabbitohs are expected to play in the first game back from the coronavirus hiatus against arch-rivals the Sydney Roosters on May 28, but South Sydney officials reportedly only expect Roberts to return to playing later in the season.
In 2018 he revealed to NRL.com he will likely be battling personal demons for the rest of his career.
“I’m still a work in progress,” he said.
“I’m always going to have problems in my life. It’s just a matter of dealing with them the right way.
“I have certain tools and methods I use when I feel like I’m feeling those kind of pressures. They are the stuff I learnt in Thailand and just by growing as a person.
“I’ve learnt to avoid certain things and talk about my problems with people I trust. It helps a lot.”
South Sydney only addressed the report on Tuesday morning.
If you or someone you know may be struggling with mental issues, contact Lifeline 13 11 14 or Beyond Blue 1300 22 4636.
— with AAP