Players of James Roby’s calibre don’t grow on trees but his predecessor in the coveted no. 9 jersey is already searching for an understudy or a long-term replacement to step into his boots.
Roby, who will be 31 in November, is still as fit as a fiddle and showing no signs that retirement is just around the corner but his mentor and head coach, Keiron Cunningham, is trying to guard against the dangers of burn out.
The international hooker has been involved in Saints last 22 league and cup matches in 2016 and only marked absent a few times earlier in the season.
Circumstances have prevented Cunningham giving his protégé a much-needed breather and the decision to allow Aussie Travis Burns to move to Leigh on loan at the beginning of June after failing to fulfil expectations didn’t make things easier.
“Robes is a once-in-a-life-time player and I’m not sure there will be any one like him for a long time,” said Cunningham, who was too modest to mention his own legendary status when wearing the hooker’s shirt not too many years ago.
The Saints’ boss admitted he had a player in mind but also revealed that he had three good number nines in his development squad who could go on to greater things.