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Super League - Rugby League: Record-breaker Roby still full of life

Last week St Helens hooker James Roby broke the all-time Super League appearance record, playing his 455th game in the competition when Saints took on Hull KR at the Totally Wicked Stadium.

The 36-year-old, who has been at the Merseyside club his entire career, put on a typically tireless display and ended the match with yet another try to his name.

He has been one of the standout players in the Super League era and has now overtaken Leeds Rhinos legend Kevin Sinfield as the man who has played in it more often than anyone else.

Even at his age he is still a feared opponent and his target will be to lead the Saints to yet another Super League title - Kristian Woolf's men are currently available at 1/1 to win a fourth straight crown.

What: St Helens vs. Leeds Rhinos, Super League

Where: Totally Wicked Stadium

When: 20:00, Thursday 23rd June 2022

How to watch: Sky Sports

Odds: St Helens 1/5, Leeds Rhinos 7/2

Roby cements place as one of the greats

The hooker has always been renowned as one of the best players of his generation and in part that is to do with his longevity.

He made his debut for St Helens back in 2004 and was partly viewed as a long-term successor to Kieron Cunningham - a fellow Saints legend who has his own bronze statue outside the ground.

One of Roby may be created to stand alongside him soon as he continues to be a shining light in the Merseysiders' squad.

Perhaps the best indicator of Roby's greatness is the fact that he has stayed with the club for such a long time and no coach has sought to replace him.

He has won five Super League titles, four Challenge Cups and won the Man of Steel award in 2007 at the age of just 21 - signalling back then just how good a career he would go on to have.

Roby has always been a very dynamic player as a hooker. He is strong in the tackle and can look after himself defensively ut he combined that strength with poise and attacking flair.

He is electric at dummy half and can create tries as well as score them - Roby has touched down over one hundred times in his career and added another against Hull KR last weekend.

The try was classic Roby in many respects as he picked up the ball from dummy half and powered over the line.

To overtake a player like Kevin Sinfield in any respect is some achievement and now Roby has the distinction of being the most experienced Super League player.

What can Roby go on to achieve?

As it stands, it appears there is no stopping Roby going forward and there is still plenty for him left to achieve in the game.

Last year, when beating Catalans Dragons, the Saints matched the Rhinos' run from 2007 to 2009 in winning three consecutive Super League titles, but no team has ever completed a quartet of back-to-back titles in the Super League era.

Roby has that to aim for as well as further honours with a Saints side who have been head and shoulders above the rest in recent times.

The squad is stuffed full of world-class operators and Roby can be viewed as the heartbeat while promising youngsters such as full-back Jack Welsby and prop Matty Lees help give the side fresh energy.

Roby can essentially try and compete for as long as he likes as he still remains one of the best athletes in the competition.

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International honours missing from Roby's CV

Perhaps the only omission from Roby's haul of trophies is something for England at international level, although the sporadic nature of those games perhaps provides some mitigation.

Roby has won 31 caps for England and played a role for his country in three World Cups between 2008 and 2017.

In his first-ever World Cup match he carried over his club form when England beat Papua New Guinea 32-22 and was named man of the match in the process.

Roby also started the final of the 2017 World Cup, where England were agonisingly beaten 6-0 by Australia.

In September 2021, he announced his retirement from the international game and particularly with regards to that final, there may be a sense of what if swirling around his mind.

However, the 36-year-old has more than done enough in the club game to earn legendary status.

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