James Roby has battled the likes of Leeds Rhinos, Wigan Warriors and Warrington Wolves throughout his career but it is a new rival who ended his career but an old face that ended his career,
This was the Catalans Dragons through Sam Tomkins who was keeping his career alive.
After the game, Roby spoke to Sky Sports and was a class act:
“Yeah definitely it was one of the hardest defeats of my career. With 10 minutes to go we were in front, obviously it seemed that it was written in the stars the way it finished especially for Sam with all that in the news about him finishing as well.
“It was just heart breaking. It was a horrible way to leave the game but overall I am so proud of everything we have done of the boys, the team, the town and everyone involved.
“I am forever grateful to everyone who played a part in my journey as I go onto pastures new.”
On what he would miss about the sport, he said:
“Being part of the team and being round a group of like minded people. It will be the little stupid moments. I won’t miss playing the game but I will miss being part of a team.
“I am very thankful for the fans.”
He also remarked about the Dragons returning to the Grand Final: “I suppose in the end it is good for the game.”
The play-off atmosphere was evident from the get go, as was the physicality, with both LMS and Taukeiaho starting showing the intent for a physical start. Neither side truly threatened in the early stages with a Matt Whitley knock-on on halfway ending the most exciting attack.
Micky McIlorum made a mistake to provide Saints with territory and were it not for a brilliant defensive read by centre Ikuvalu then Bennison would have been in, the closest chance in a nervy opening 15 minutes.
The home side looked to have scored first in the corner when Tom Johnstone capitalised on a Jonny Lomax error, however Chris Kendall’s no try call wasn’t overturned by Jack Smith – seemingly for a shove from Johnstone on Lomax, albeit a harsh one.
The nerves were on show as Tom Johnstone knocked on from a simple pick up of the ball within his 20 metres however Saints couldn’t capitalise with Alex Walmsley dropping a carry on the resulting set.
Catalans took the lead just ahead of the half hour mark following a Sione Mata’utia high shot on Sam Tomkins. The Dragons opted for two with Keighran kicking over from 30 yards out to make it 2-0, the score remaining the same till the half time whistle.
Jack Welsby was at his very best once again, dragging the defenders wide to the left hand flank before playing a clever pass to allow centre Will Hopoate to dance through on the 50 minute mark to make it 6-2 to the reigning champions.
When a Moses Mbye high tackle offered the home side a penalty in front of the sticks from 30 metres then Adam Keighran opted to take the two, bringing the game back to 6-4, with the Dragons receiving the ball once again from the restart.
A Mitchell Pearce kick was knocked on by Jack Welsby and Matty Lees was then penalised for lying on at the play the ball, seeing yellow for the professional foul. That saw Saints drop to 12 with Lees in the sin bin and Adam Keighran score his third penalty of the game, making the game six points a piece with less than ten minutes to go.
After a flurry of penalties and a blocked drop goal from Tomkins it was finally the moment of magic that the game had been waiting for. Saints raced off the line to block the kick and Tomkins wound back the clock to dodge the chase and dart through under the sticks after a brilliant step. A supreme try!