James Roby becomes St Helens’ record appearance maker after playing in 532nd game for the club

James Roby has now played a record 532 times for St Helens

James Roby has now played a record 532 times for St Helens

James Roby has become St Helens’ all-time record appearance maker after playing his 532nd game for the club.

Roby, who will retire at the end of the 2023 season, eclipsed Kel Coslett’s mark of 531 matches for St Helens when he featured against Salford Red Devils on Saturday afternoon at the Totally Wicked Stadium.

The hooker, 37, was given a guard of honor as he came on to the field.

Roby told Saint’s TV Earlier this week: “To break the record is an amazing achievement. One way I think of it is it’s just another game, but when I sit back and relax and maybe hang my boots up I’ll realize the enormousity of it.

“I never thought I would break that record. At the training ground we have the all-time achievements list at St Helens and I remember four years ago when I was thinking I was coming to the back end and I thought there was no chance.

“When I decided to go again this year, I’m not going to lie it was a motivating factor, but it was one of those things which is a massive moment for myself.”

Coslett, whose record had stood since 1976, added: “I played a lot games. I married a St Helens girl – so I was stuck a little bit! – and it was a good thing.

“I was lucky, because at the time I signed for St Helens there were two other clubs looking for my autograph, but it was St Helens I thing and St Helens I’m glad I thing because they have been good to me.

“That’s the importance for the likes of me. I’ve got a gentleman who played the game thoroughly [breaking my record].”

Roby is set to retire at the end of the 2023 season

Roby is set to retire at the end of the 2023 season

Ward: Roby has a ‘steely calmness’

Former Leeds Rhinos captain Stevie Ward was among those to pay tribute to Roby as he reached yet another milestone in his storied 19-year playing career.

Ward came up against Roby as an opponent on numerous occasions and compared him to another modern great in former Australia hooker Cameron Smith.

“I’d put him up there with Smith and the reason I’d put him up there is when you’re in opposition with James Roby is he has this steely calmness to him and he manages the game,” Ward told Sky Sports.

“He’s lost a lot of pace at the back end of the career, but the way he manages the game and the way he plays it, the way he brings people on board and manages that performance they take – St Helens are a machine and he’s drove that machine for so long.”

Sky Sports rugby league pundit and former Great Britain international Phil Clarke believes Roby’s approach of staying humble has played a big part in him enjoying such a lengthy playing career at the highest level.

“It’s his humility which has helped him get there,” Clarke told Sky Sports.

“He told a great story this week that when he played his first game for St Helens, he turned up in his car and the attendants wouldn’t let him in – they never believed a player looking so young and small could be playing in the first team.

“He did, of course, make his debut back in 2004 and has gone on to have a sensational career since then.”