St Helens find themselves without James Roby for the first time in 19 years as the Saints icon has now hung up his boots. During his career, Roby amassed a staggering 551 appearances for the Red Vee, and has seen his commitment to the club rewarded with a place in the St Helens Hall of Fame. This now leaves the club in a difficult position, as they begin their search for a new club captain.
Roby was appointed captain in 2018, following the departure of Jon Wilkin, however St Helens will be led out by a new face this coming season. There are plenty of credible candidates for the mantle, but here are four candidates we think could become Saints skipper in 2024:
Young Jack Welsby has already captained his country, so could we see him be named as Roby’s replacement for the title? Welsby led England very well during the Autumn series against Tonga, showing he could easily step up into the role for his club side. He is a general in the back field, and can often be seen directing each of his players. He is still young, but as the England series showed he is a mature player and has the ability to be a leader amongst older players.
Experienced pro Jonny Lomax has been at St Helens since 2009, and has spent the entirety of his career at the club. Lomax is a senior leader within the squad, and he is a player who knows what it takes to win, which is something St Helens players and fans expect from the club. He knows the culture of the club inside and out, and giving him the captaincy could drill that into his players as they look to regain their crown.
Prop Alex Walmsley is another player who has spent the bulk of his career in the successful Saints side. The powerful forward is a player that lets his actions do the talking; he is always the first one to put his hand up for the tough stuff through the middle, and sets the example for those around him. He is also a senior leader within the squad, and as he is usually in the thick of the action he would be a great choice to replace Roby as skipper.
Another player who has spent the entirety of his career at St Helens is Tommy Makinson. Makinson is also an experienced professional who knows what it takes to win. He sets the example for those around him, and is a crucial part of the St Helens team. In a similar vain to Walmsley he lets his actions do the talking for him and is always looking for work; this will definitely set a good example for his teammates if he was appointed captain. His time at St Helens has been littered with silverware, so that would again drill that culture of winning into the current crop of players.