ST HELENS skipper James Roby has agreed a one-year contract extension, meaning he is set for a 19th season at the club.
The 35-year hooker is a four-time Grand Final winner and is aiming to help his hometown team win a third successive Super League title this term.
Great Britain and England international Roby, who has played in three World Cups, has also featured in four Challenge Cup final victories, scoring a try as Saints beat Castleford in the final at Wembley in July.
He has been named in Super League’s Dream Team six times and took the Man of Steel award in 2007, when he played in the World Club Challenge win over Brisbane Broncos.
Roby was strongly linked with a move Down Under before signing a five-year contract with Saints in 2013.
He made his debut against Widnes in Super League in 2004 after graduating from Saints’ Academy and has made 485 appearances with 110 tries for his only club.
Kristian Woolf’s second-placed side are in Friday-night derby action at Wigan.
“It is no secret we are in a bit of a transitional period with some of our younger blokes starting to have more of a presence in the squad, and they will have more responsibility next year,” said the coach.
“To have a player of James Roby’s calibre, with his leadership, him as a person and the example that he sets – there is no better person in our game to help young players develop.”
Roby explained: “I am very lucky to be a part of this club and organisation.
“As you get older you do think the end is near and I knew I was off-contract at the end of this year and thought this could be my last season.
“I never saw myself playing anywhere else and if the club hadn’t offered me a new deal, I would have called it a day.
“But I have signed for one more year and I am committed to that and looking forward to it and I believe I still have value to this team. I am excited to go again.
“I am still that young, local lad at heart. It’s so special to be a hometown lad and as a kid I wanted to play for St Helens and I have been lucky enough to do that.”
Saints chairman Eamonn McManus said: “James is one of the greatest players in the history of St Helens. He is also our talisman and our leader.
“It’s great that he’s agreed to extend his career for a further season and there’s no doubt he will continue to play a key and pivotal role.”