James Roby ready to help St Helens make a fresh start as Super League returns

St Helens skipper James Roby says the defending champions will use Super League’s return to action as a fresh start.

Saints will restart the season against Catalans on Sunday with three defeats from five – the same number of losses they suffered in the entire 2019 league campaign as they finished a record 16 points clear.

In the last game before the competition shut down in March the were soundly beaten 28-14 at Castleford Tigers. It turned extra focus on coach Kristian Woolf after he took over from Justin Holbrook during the close season.

But the vastly experienced Roby, 34, says Saints have preferred to look forward since returning to training earlier this month. Roby said: “The start to the season is probably totally separate to be honest and we’ve not referenced it too much.

“We’re all aware in the back of our minds that we didn’t start as well as we’d have liked to, and were a bit scratchy. In that sense the rest has probably thrown up a bit of a benefit for us.

“Nobody likes playing rugby when you’re losing or not playing as well as you should, and at a club like St Helens there’s a constant pressure to perform and rightly so. That’s the pressure we earned as champions last year, and we’re aware of it as players.

“But we’ve come back in good shape with smiles on our faces and confident in our ability. We know we can perform better than we’ve shown this year and this is almost a fresh start for us.”

Saints have been bolstered by the addition of returning hero James Graham, who progressed through the club’s junior ranks alongside Roby before building a stellar career in the NRL.

Graham is back on a short-term deal until the end of the season and Roby says his old front row partner has already made his presence felt again.

Roby added: “It’s great to have Jammer back – he’s a great friend and it’s a bit weird him being back here, where he belongs. He’s fitted straight into the group and he’s a huge personality to have around.

“Sometimes a new face brings a fresh perspective and energy and he’s definitely done that.

“His record speaks for itself, and because he’s been over to the NRL and achieved great things there, I think some of the younger lads look up to Jammer a bit differently than somebody who’s played their whole career over here.

“It adds a bit of different dynamic to the group, he’s already finding his feet and putting his input across. I think the young forwards in particular will gain a lot from him being at the club.”

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