It was a good call for the hard-working allrounder – fresh from a dominant Toyota Futures League summer for South Australia, and impressive Premier Cricket form.
Nielsen was ringing to let him know he had earned a full state contract with the Redbacks for 2018-19.
“I was actually on my way for a round of golf when Tim gave me a call, which was pretty good,” Robins said.
“I birdied the first hole, and double bogied the next four, so that turned sour pretty quick.”
It’s a free-flowing approach that Robins attributes as the reason why he has earned his first state contract, as someone who can enjoy himself on the field while working hard for the team.
“I prefer to see the game moving a bit,” he said.
“You always want to win games of cricket, but if you aren’t having fun, you’re probably not going to enjoy it as much anyway.”
A medium-fast bowler and attacking lower order batsman, Robins has had a season to remember.
He nabbed 31 wickets in just five matches in the Toyota Futures League, at an average of only 17.06, as well blasting 202 runs at an average of 25.25.
“It’s been an important part of my cricket, playing in the Futures League,” the 23-year-old said.
“The first time I played, Brad Haddin made hundreds in both innings (for ACT), so that was a bit of an eye opener. It’s a bit more of a reality check, it’s a bit harder than what grade cricket is.”
“It’s not overwhelming, but it certainly shows you how much you need to grow, and it’s certainly held me in good stead for this year.”
“I guess this year, it was very much a case of just trying to enjoy it, soaking up the contest, that sort of thing.”
It’s paid dividends for the Northern Territory product, who praised the ‘Top End’ system for the invaluable role it played in his development.
“I was really lucky, I got access to really good coaches… you get a lot of one on one coaching,” Robins said.
“You get to play cricket in June, which you don’t get to do anywhere else in Australia.”
“From a junior perspective, you just get great access to facilities, coaches, you’re playing all year around.
“So by the time you play Nationals, Under 17s, Under 19s, you finish them in January, you have two months off and then your season starts again, so it’s cricket all the time.”
This constant cricket has found Robins in and around the Cricket Australia system, including being part of the CA Chairman’s XI, against England in 2011.
He’s also had the opportunity to sub-field as Australia’s 12th man in the past four Adelaide Test matches, including last year’s Ashes Test.
“It’s something that a lot of people wouldn’t dream they would get to be able to do, and I’ve done it the last four games,” Robins said.
“The first one I did, against India, was the Test after Phillip Hughes passed away, so it was pretty special to be a part of that.
“It’s unreal (to play in front of Test match crowd), you spend the whole time pinching yourself. I do it with someone new every time, so to see the look on their faces, it’s awesome. You just look around, you see your mates, and the crowd go to this one Test once a year, I can’t imagine what it would be like to actually play in front of them.”
Getting to play in front of them is now a step closer to being within reach – with a contract possibly opening up opportunities in the JLT One-Day Cup or JLT Sheffield Shield.
Robins is adamant that he will do whatever it takes to contribute to the Redbacks in his debut season.
“Adelaide is pretty small, everyone knows everyone. The blokes in the Redbacks squad are top notch blokes, and it really is just one big family,” he said.
“I just try to be the best teammate possible, whether that be trying to have a crack (with the bat) and getting out, or bowling up-hill in the wind.”
“I learnt a little while ago that you have to be willing to do anything for the team.”