St Helens skipper James Roby expecting tough test at Hull FC

Saints have had to spend 10 days in isolation following Covid-19 problems but were able to return to training late last week - and skipper James Roby believes they can benefit from the break.

Sunday, 1st August 2021, 11:19 am
Updated Sunday, 1st August 2021, 11:20 am
James Roby

One club man Roby, who is set to make his 432nd league appearance at Hull FC on Monday night, said: ''No one likes fixtures being called off but it gave us a chance to freshen up and rest tired legs because games will be coming thick and fast for the rest of the season.''

The 35-year-old hooker went on: ''We had a glimpse of what's involved when the first lockdown occurred last year but it is always hard to keep going when you are stuck at home.

''It's now great just to be back in training which will give us a few days to prepare for what will be a tough game. The lads were also fantastic on their return, showing a high level of skills and intensity and this will be beneficial in the long-term.'''

Saints have already beaten the Humbersiders on their way to Wembley glory against Castleford Tigers a few weeks ago and earlier in the campaign toppled them in Super League but will be taking nothing for granted against the Airlie Bird, who will still be smarting from the midweek home defeat at the hands of the Leeds Rhinos.

''They will be gunning for us and will want to knock us off our perch,'' said Robes.

Hull boss Brett Hodgson said: ''We know we can play better and what we need to do, but it won't be easy against a team like St Helens if we don't show belief in ourselves.''

The Black and Whites will also be expecting a bumper gate for the visit of the defending champions and Roby is relishing the encounter ahead.

He said: ''We had a glance of what fans can do for you at Wembley, which was amazing, but often they are taken for granted. .

''You don't realise the impact and motivation they have on us as players and hope it will be the same on Monday.''

The match, which kicks-off at 7.45pm, will be screened live by SKY TV.

Kevin Naiqama needs one appearance to reach 200 in his career - 67 for St Helens (2019-2021), 90 for Wests Tigers (2015-2018), 8 for Penrith Panthers (2014),15 for Newcastle Knights (2010, 2012-2013), 19 for Fiji (2009, 2013-2019)