While the 2019 State of Origin series may be a lost cause, James Roberts is not giving up hope of a wearing a NSW jersey in 2020.
Roberts was one of the 2018 series winning players overlooked for Game One, when coach Brad Fittler blooded five new faces, and for Game Two when he introduced seven new faces.
But five of those players had played for NSW in previous Origin campaigns and were recalled to plug holes from injury or poor form.
"Jimmy the Jet" recognises Fittler now has a winning combination for Game Three at ANZ Stadium on July 10. But that won't snuff out his hopes of a return at some stage.
"They played really well last night – it was good to see the boys win," Roberts said at Rabbitohs training on Monday.
"Hopefully they can bring that shield home again so we keep it in NSW. If they played like they did last night, I can't see anyone stopping them," he said.
"Obviously next year is a new year and I'm just going to have to work harder and play some consistent footy early in the year and try to get a spot again.
"That's next year, so I'll just stay focused on Souths at the moment."
And it hasn't taken too much effort to feel comfortable again at Redfern Oval after two-and-a-half years at the Broncos.
"It's good to be home. My family is yet to move down but it's a special place for me and I'm really excited for the rest of the year and the next two seasons," Roberts said.
A lot has been spoken about Roberts linking with coach Wayne Bennett once more. Putting the personal trust and rapport to one side, Roberts just likes the way the seven-time premiership winner does his job.
"I think he's just a bit old school and simplifies a lot of things. He's not as technical as everyone else and it just seems to work," Roberts said.
"Everyone buys into it. It's pretty easy and pretty fun as well.
"He's got game plans but they're just not at technical so everything is a lot more understandable. It's just easier to work with."
Roberts' body – especially is troublesome right Achilles - is also starting to recover.
"I feel good actually. My Achilles is slowly getting better and better. I dropped a bit of weight – four or five kilos – and being a bit lighter has made it a bit easier on the joints," he said.
"It [weight loss] came with getting back into the training regime and the different sort of weights that they do up there [Broncos] compared with down here.
"I think it's working better for my body."