Yates’ Verdict: Why record-breaking St Helens skipper James Roby is in a league of his own

Humble, honest, unassuming, unpretentious and above everything else one of the most consistent Rugby League players of his generation.

<p>St Helens' James Roby (left) is tackled by Hull Kingston Rovers' Lachlan Coote. Picture: PA</p>

St Helens' James Roby (left) is tackled by Hull Kingston Rovers' Lachlan Coote. Picture: PA

Thanks a million for the memories! Words which perfectly sum up the entertainment and pleasure I have derived from watching Saints hooker James Roby in action from the press box since he made his first team debut against Widnes Vikings at Knowsley Road in March 2004.

Humble, honest, unassuming, unpretentious and above everything else one of the most consistent Rugby League players of his generation, or any other generation, I have been lucky enough to watch.

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And Sunday’s home game against Hull KR marked his Super League record-breaking 455th career appearance - taking over pole position from former Leeds idol Kevin Sinfield.

It was also fitting that he was able to celebrate the occasion by scoring one of Saints’ six tries to keep a stranglehold on top spot in the table but you won’t find the home-grown No.9 bragging about it, or any other of his achievements.

Roby has always kept his feet firmly on the ground and is often embarrassed and reluctant to talk about his personal contribution to the club’s success and normally heaps the praise on the players around him.

Some fans describe him as a laid back type of character, which is true, and this is reflected in the fact that after training he can return home and switch-off completely from the sport, which has earned him cult status.

He is due to hang up his boots at the end of the season - even though there are people inside and outside the club who would love him to extend his existing contract for another 12 months.

It’s a final and binding decision which naturally will need to be made in consultation with his family and whether it is better retiring when at the top than slowly fading into obscurity.

Anyway, enjoy the latter part of Robes’ career ... it won’t last forever.