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Bronco leaves wife in labour so he can play footy

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Brisbane Broncos have been lambasted for applauding the “selfless” actions of their star centre player, who put the team before the birth of his child.

James Roberts’ wife, Anna Jovanovic, was already in labour last Friday when he ran out on the field to play against the 12th-placed Rabbitohs at Suncorp Stadium. The top-ranked Broncos went on to wallop their opponents 30-8.

“Roberts was going to miss the birth after a making a selfless decision to put the team first and play against the Rabbitohs last Friday, after partner Anna went into labour only hours before kick-off,” the Broncos said in a statement.

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But not everyone was as supportive of Roberts’ decision.

“To describe the actions of a young sporting star who chose to kick around a ball with a team of men over staying with his wife, and soon to be first-time mother, as selfless … well, that’s just selfish,” Vanessa Croll said in an article for News Corp.

One person commented online: “If my partner left me in labour to play football they would be not allowed back in the house.”

“Brisbane Broncos: disappointed to hear you supported James Roberts [to] play and leave his WIFE at home begging for support,” another said.

‘I wanted to do it for the boys’

james roberts

Anna Jovanovic and James Roberts welcomed their son, Kirk, on Sunday morning. Photo: Facebook

Speaking after the birth, Roberts said he didn’t want to let the team down.

“She was begging me to stay and not go but I just wanted to come up and do a job for the boys,” Roberts said.

“I am sure Wayne did [want me to play] but he didn’t say much, I think he was just avoiding calls from Anna.”

Their son, named Kirk after Roberts’ brother who suffers from muscular dystrophy, was born at 4am on Sunday morning.

Jovanovic later described Roberts as a “loving, caring and nurturing father”.

‘Damned if they do, damned if they don’t’

Parents were often heavily criticised for their decisions, a parenting expert told The New Daily.

“We are always quick to criticise, I think parents are one of the most criticised members of the population,” parenting expert Dr Rosina McAlpine told The New Daily.

“They are damned if they do, and damned if they don’t. If they stay they go: ‘great, he stayed with his wife, that’s fantastic’, and if they don’t they go: ‘oh my goodness, it is all about football, his poor wife’ … or if he stays he is seen as letting the team down.”

Tennis superstar Andy Murray said he would leave the 2016 Australian Open – even if he reached the final – if his wife, Kim Sears, went into labour before the tournament’s end.

Daniel Murphy, a second baseman with the New York Mets, was blasted for taking three days’ leave during the playing season for the birth of his first child in 2014.

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