Only a win could do for a winner like James Roby on a day devoted to him and his remarkable career and Kristian Woolf’s winning machine ensured one came in a less than easy afternoon against Hull KR and Roby’s former teammate Lachlan Coote on his return to the Totally Wicked Stadium.
He just had to
On his landmark 455th Super League appearance which saw him go above Kevin Sinfield as Super League’s top appearance maker, James Roby simply had to score. It was a quintessential James Roby try too as he showed a number of dummies near the Hull KR line doing a 360 turn almost before going himself using good strength to get the ball down.
Typical Ryan Hall
We saw a typical James Roby try and a winger he has tussled with on the grandest stage again and again scored a typical try too as Ryan Hall took a long ball from former Saint Lachlan Coote to score.
Konrad Hurrell conjured up St Helens’ vital fourth try of the game going on a real rampage downing a number of Hull KR players. On the back of this Jack Welsby’s kick found Ben Davies for the try. Hurrell would later go onto claim a deserved try.
After all the pomp and circumstance before the game including a guard of honour for one of the true legends of our game James Roby, it was always a possibility that the hype would ensure that the game would take some time to get going.
However, that wasn’t the case as another of the pillars of this great Saints team got the Champions off to a flying start in Tommy Makinson. After good work from Konrad Hurrell to keep the ball in place Will Hopoate, who is really settling at fullback, put Makinson in for the opener but he couldn’t convert his own try.
His former teammate could however as Lachlan Coote took the wind out of St Helens’ sails with a try and goal. Against his former club and celebrating his former teammates latest accolade, he somewhat emulated Roby in scooting over for a try which gave the Robins a 6-4 lead. This was whilst St Helens new number one – although operating in the halves – Jack Welsby was off in the sin bin.
The Saints didn’t suffer any further damage whilst he was off and his arrival was greeted by Saints’ second try and who else but James Roby to get over and in typical Roby fashion too dummying near the line and powering over.
A five-time Super League Champion, a Man of Steel and two-time Harry Sunderland Award winner – he deserved a try on the day he became Super League’s all-time leading appearance maker. A true legend.
It was also vital in the context of the game as it gave the Saints a 10-6 lead. That lead was soon extended to 16-6 after a powerful drive from Alex Walmsley coupled with a delightful offload created a try for Morgan Knowles after 23 minutes.
Hull KR would not go away however intent on making Roby work for a win on his landmark appearance as Ryan Hall scored in the corner to give them hope. Coote converted.
That hope was somewhat extinguished when Matt Parcell was shown a yellow card right on halftime allowing Makinson to kick a penalty to make it 18-12 at the break.
10 minutes into the second half and the Saints had a vital try. After a bursting run from Konrad Hurrell, Jack Welsby’s kick found Ben Davies to open up a 10-point lead.
Hurrell had been fantastic and he put the Champions into a winning position after he got over for a deserved try after good work from Roby, Lomax and Hopoate.
On a day all about St Helens’ recent history it would have of course been fitting if a member of their threepeat side got the final say and they did but not wearing a Saints shirt; Lachlan Coote got his second with three minutes to go thanks to a Shaun Kenny-Dowall try. He converted his own score to make it 37 points in the last two games for the fullback.
This game either side of disallowed tries for Alex Walmsley and wrapped up the scoring.