Super League coaches pay tribute to St Helens ‘freak of rugby league’ James Roby as he breaks appearance record

St Helens beat Hull KR 26-18 as James Roby scored a try and broke the Super League appearance record.

<p>James Roby of St Helens holds the Grand Final Trophy with head coach Kristian Woolf. Photo: Lewis Storey/Getty Images</p>

James Roby of St Helens holds the Grand Final Trophy with head coach Kristian Woolf. Photo: Lewis Storey/Getty Images

Nearly 10,000 fans flocked to the Totally Wicked Stadium on Sunday to pay their own personal tribute to Saints’ skipper James Roby who was making his record-breaking 455th Super League appearance against Hull KR.

Both sets of players gave the 36-year-old a guard of honour ahead of the kick-off and just to put the icing on the cake the hometown boy scored one of St Helens’ tries.

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His former team-mate Lachlan Coote, who joined the Robins this season, also got in on the act, scoring two tries and landing three goals.

But the day belonged to the evergreen England and Great Britain international who head coach Kristian Woolf said: “We are very lucky to have him and he deserves ALL the accolades he gets.

“The group are very much in his image. I think he gets a bit embarrassed and to be honest he’d rather go without it.

“He’s such a humble bloke with all he’s achieved and all he’s won. He’s won so many things and it’s hard for anyone else to get ahead of themselves with him in our dressing room.”

Hull KR coach Tony Smith was also full of praise for the record-breaker, whom he briefly coached with England.

He said: “James Roby is a pleasure to watch. He’s a champion and I have always loved watching him. He’s a freak of rugby league – he looks like he can keep going for a lot longer yet.

“Robes is a warhorse. He does all the little things well. He’s a true competitor and has got those batteries that never wear out. This record will take some beating. If anyone does it, I hope they’re as good a person as James Roby.”

Saints scored five tries to Hull KR’s three, but Woolf admitted his side could not maintain their early pace.

He said: “We fell away from what we were doing well in the first half. Probably we got a bit frustrated with what was going on in the ruck.

“Once we got back to what we were doing we looked good. We can’t give away the penalties we did, we have got to get smarter in those situations.”