St Helens stunned the Penrith Panthers on Saturday.
At the heart of it was a brilliant spine who impressed former Super League and NRL man Matt Adamson.
He compared them to the Leeds Rhinos golden generation
“The fullback is a talent, I’ve no doubt that NRL clubs will try and poach that young kid. No doubt whatsoever. Certainly the way he performed in both games there will be big ticket offers coming his way, he’s going to be confronted with quite a challenging situation. There’s been a lot of media about that over here, a lot of clubs have been quite impressed.
“James Roby is just a trojan, he was there in my career and he makes me feel young. When I watch James play I remember I played against him 20 years ago. It’s incredible what he’s done, what a great leader and an icon for the club. There’ll be a statue or a grandstand somewhere for all he’s contributed to those guys.
“The other half who kicked the field goal, he did his ACL last year or his Achilles was it? He played with great confidence.
“I know they’ve won four premierships back to Justin Holbrook’s and Woolfe’s time but having that quality spine, that obviously Roby has been a huge part of, is why they’ve been successful at winning comps. You go back to the Leeds’ days, you had Danny Buderus, Matty Diskin, Rob Burrow, Danny McGuire and you had quality full-backs there as well. It’s a key to have those three of four players in your spine, they make up the whole culture.”
That said, he questioned whether they could do it again:
“They’re the bench mark in Super League but they’re also the bench mark from the World Club Challenge because they’re the victors. A heap of emotion and passion went into that game, that’s the big challenge of backing it up week in week out, could they do that? Not sure, I’m not putting them down but they got everything right on the day, and that was what was important and is beautiful about sport.”
When asked where they would finish in the NRL, he said:
“You’ve got to be up every week, structurally and systems wise. You can’t defend up every week, you’d get caught out which is why NRL clubs don’t put such a big emphasis on it.
“I know the Roosters at times, when they play certain teams will use that kind of defensive structure. It’s to put pressure on the halves and five eights out of the back of plays. They’d compete, there’s no doubt about it. Where would they finish is a question that everyone asks at the start of every year.
“The current NRL form is a bit wishy washy at the moment in regards to who performed and who didn’t. There’s a couple of normal top sides who did really well, then other blokes who did terribly bad. It’s certainly competitive, I’ve always said that, St Helens and Leeds when they’re at their best, and Wigan, can always compete.”