Roby ready for ultimate challenge

James Roby during an England Rugby League Team training run at Lakeside Stadium Albert Park, Melbourne
James Roby during an England Rugby League Team training run at Lakeside Stadium Albert Park, Melbourne

A great deal of weight will fall on James Roby’s shoulders as England set their sights on winning the Rugby League World Cup Final this weekend.

Saints’ Mr Perpetual Motion is the only recognised no. 9 in coach Wayne Bennett’s squad after Canberra’s Josh Hodgson was forced to leave the field in the first half of Saturday’s dramatic 20-18 victory over Tonga in Auckland suffering from a knee injury which rules him out of the final against Australia..

It’s a massive body blow for the player and head coach Bennett but the latter can take solace from the fact that the St Helens hooker is capable of playing a full 80 minutes if required and has done so many times when pulling on the shirt of his home town club.

Roby said:”It’s obviously bad news for Josh and I feel for him but if that means me starting, I’m going to have to get ready to get going from the off.”

Bennett may now turn to either Stefan Ratchford (Warrington Wolves ), George Williams (Wigan Warriors) or Saints’ Jonny Lomax who are all versatile players to fill a gap on the bench where Robes has started in several of the matches.

It will be a tough assignment for the English lads and this is reflected in the odds on the outcome. The bookies quote the Aussies at 1/7 and England 7/1.