James Roby aiming for more Grand Final glory after suffering five years of hurt

When St Helens slumped to five straight Grand Final defeats between 2007 and 2011, James Roby was an ever present in their nearly men side.

Now, a decade on, Saints’ inspirational skipper stands on the verge of redemption with the chance to clinch a record-equalling third straight triumph.

It’s a fact not lost on the seemingly indefatigable 35-year-old, who is gracing this stage for a 10th time, one short of Jamie Peacock’s Grand Final record.

Roby said: “I was lucky, or unlucky enough to be part of that team that lost five in a row and it was dreadful, I wouldn’t wish that on anybody. It was just gutting, it’s a long time ago now but it was a feeling of ‘not again’ after we did all the hard work to get there.

“People look into that and losing all those finals, but I used think at least we got to those finals in the first place, because it takes a hell of a lot of effort and work to put yourself in that position.

“Five in a row wasn’t nice times to be a part of and was hugely disappointing, but we’ve got that tag off our back now. I think every final we’ve got to since then we’ve gone on and won.

“We’re in a new era now, a new time and a new team and we’ve got the job done the last couple of years. Hopefully it’s more of the same and we can get that three-peat, it’s what we’re all working for and it would be super special.

“It’s not very often something like that is achieved and to be a part of that would be something to be very proud of.”

Roby will face a familiar foe in the middle of the field at the Theatre of Dreams, having locked horns with Catalans’ former Wigan hooker Micky McIlorum in a host of derbies spanning a decade.

Roby added: “Micky is fierce, and always a physical competitor. I’ve played against enough times over the years and he’s a fantastic player.

“The way he plays the game, and the size of their middles, we’re expecting a really physical meeting with the Catalans forwards. We think we’re ready for the task and we’ll meet that head on.”

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