26 St Helens – 12 Salford – rezal404

St Helens' James Roby made a record-breaking 532nd appearance for the club in their Super League win vs Salford

St Helens’ James Roby made a record-breaking 532nd appearance for the club in their Super League win vs Salford

James Roby celebrated his club record 532nd appearance for St Helens in style as the defending champions overturned Salford’s 12-0 lead to power to a 26-12 Betfred Super League victory.

The Saints captain and hooker was instrumental in Paul Wellens’ men recovering from a poor start to run in five tries.

The Red Devils scored twice inside the opening quarter through tries from Brodie Croft and Ryan Brierley – both converted by Marc Sneyd – but the hosts’ class gradually told.

They hit back before the break through James Bell, while second-half scores from Curtis Sironen, Jonny Lomax, Tommy Makinson and Joe Batchelor saw them home on Roby’s big day.

The landmark appearance enabled the 37-year-old, who will retire at the end of the season, to surpass fellow St Helens great Kel Coslett in the club’s history books.

St Helens began brightly but Salford, who had won their previous four games, held firm and scored a superb opening try inside the fifth minute.

Prop King Vuniyayawa found himself in space inside the right channel and his pass found Croft, who raced clear from around 20 meters out.

Saints winger Tee Ritson made a desperate attempt to tackle the stand-off but the try was awarded by referee Chris Kendall before being confirmed as such by video referee Liam Moore.

Sneyd added the conversion from in front of the posts but St Helens went close to scoring when a flowing move saw the ball shifted to the left flank where Ritson dived over in the corner.

He was on the line, however, when the ball was grounded and video referee Moore reversed Kendall’s award of a try, leaving Saints disappointed.

Salford soaked up the pressure and then claimed a second try in the 17th minute when Brierley broke dangerously from full-back and found Kallum Watkins inside the right channel.

Watkins then offloaded the ball back to Brierley and the full-back had the speed to race clear to score.

Sneyd again improved the try with a conversion to put Salford 12-0 ahead.

St Helens came back strongly but the visitors held firm, forcing a knock-on from England prop Alex Walmsley, who departed with a head knock but passed his HIA and was able to return to the field.

Roby was prominent in Saints’ attacking endeavors and in the 32nd minute told their pressure when Bell collected Sironen’s pass and dived over the line.

It stemmed from a fine break from Roby which created the field position and Makinson converted to cut Salford’s lead to six points.

Three minutes into the second half, Sironen barged over the line from close range but Makinson failed to convert the try.

The home side began to dominate and Lomax profited on a handling error in the Salford backline to score their third try.

In the 50th minute, the hosts were in again as Makinson dive over in the right corner after good work from Walmsley through the middle.

Four minutes later, the hosts struck again when Batchelor took a pass from Lomax to score before Makinson missed the conversion, finishing the match with three goals from five attempts.