St Helens boss hails legendary status of James Roby following Salford victory

James Roby goes over for a try against Salford
James Roby goes over for a try against Salford
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St Helens coach Justin Holbrook hailed the legendary status of his captain James Roby after his two-try show helped his side to a 26-4 win over Salford.

The 33-year-old England international, who has scored over a century of tries in 431 appearances for his home-town club, went into the fourth round of Betfred Super League with eight points out of a possible nine in the 2019 Steve Prescott Man of Steel race and was again at the heart of his side's efforts.

Jonny Lomax takes on Joey Lussick (right) and Junior Sau

Jonny Lomax takes on Joey Lussick (right) and Junior Sau

A trademark dart from dummy half just before half-time helped secure a 16-0 lead while Roby was in support of a long-range break by winger Tom Makinson to score his second try six minutes from the end as Saints maintained their 100 per cent start to the season.

"It sums him up," Holbrook said. "He was the only player down there after an 80-minute break. It adds to the legendary status and it's deserved."

Salford coach Ian Watson said: "He's still a great player. He's the best in the country as a nine and has been for a long time."

Last year's league leaders ran in five tries to one to quell the threat of the Red Devils, who themselves had the chance to take over at the top.

Luke Thompson is tackled by Kris Brining (left) and Joey Lussick (right)

Luke Thompson is tackled by Kris Brining (left) and Joey Lussick (right)

"Salford started the season really well and they've got some dangerous attacking threats so we had to do a really good job on them and we did," Holbrook said.

"For us to defend the way we did was fantastic. I thought this was our best performance so far. We were really good across our 17 players and to have the whole team play well really is pleasing as a coach.

"We controlled the game really well, I'm really happy with the team performance."

Salford, who have the smallest squad in Super League, were hit by a spate of injuries even before kick-off.

Watson was forced to make a late change with Daniel Murray drafted in at loose forward after George Griffin tore a hamstring in the warm-up and captain Lee Mossop lasted just six minutes before suffering a similar injury.

The Red Devils also lost substitute prop Greg Burke with a cut head, although he was able to return for the start of the second half, while talismanic half-back Jackson Hastings went off 10 minutes from the end with a head knock.

"Teams pick them up, it's not why we lost," said Watson. "I've got to give credit to St Helens for how good defensively they were.

"We can learn lessons from a champion team. I'm really confident in my players' ability to learn.

"There was lots of effort and endeavour, something we can build on. We dug in against a really good team, most teams would have cracked before we did."