Former England and St Helens legend James Graham has named who he thinks are the three greatest English players are, with his former teammate James Roby topping the list.
Graham, known as ‘Jammer’, played with Roby for eight years prior to Graham’s switch to the NRL, but the pair were reunited during the 2020 season as Graham returned to St Helens. They also played together for Great Britain and England.
On his podcast the ‘Bye-Round’, Graham and his co-host were discussing who are the English Immortals.
In the NRL, ‘the Immortals’ is the Hall of Fame. It is comprised of the 13 greatest players to play in the NRL, and includes the likes of former Warrington Wolves man Andrew Johns, Herbert ‘Dally’ Messenger and current Kangaroos coach Mal Meninga.
On the podcast, Graham stated his belief that Roby is the greatest ever Super League player: “The best player that Super League has ever seen is James Roby and I don’t think that is up for debate.”
James Roby hung up his boots this year after a stellar 19 year career with St Helens-where he amassed an astonishing 551 appearances in all competitions. He also won plenty of silverware, winning six Super League titles, eight League Leaders Shields and four Challenge Cups.
He has also been inducted into the club’s Hall of Fame. His induction broke the traditional rule of the St Helens Players Association; however they cited his exceptional service to the club as a reason to stray away from tradition and induct him not long after his retirement.
Whilst Graham cited his belief James Roby is the ‘best player Super League has ever seen’, he also detailed his belief another former teammate should be included as an English Immortal.
“I think Sam (Burgess) with what he did over here,” he said.
‘Slammin’ Sam-who has just taken the reigns as Warrington Wolves boss-played with Graham for both Great Britain and England, and the pair also faced each other on many occasions in the NRL during their careers down under.
Burgess had a fantastic career in Australia, where he captained the South Sydney Rabbitohs and famously played alongside his three brothers Luke, Tom and George.
During his time at Souths, Burgess helped guide his team to the 2014 Premiership-where he played a key part in the Grand Final despite having a fractured eye socket.
Another player that made Graham’s list Rugby League icon Ellery Hanley. Speaking on Hanley, Graham said: “there’s players of yesteryear, you think of people like Ellery (Hanley), just wow. You’re just wow!”
Hanley spent the majority of his career in the UK, representing Bradford, Wigan and Leeds. He also pulled on the famous Great Britain jersey on 36 occasions. He is also the only man to ever win three Man of Steel awards.