St Helens hooker James Roby believes that of all the club’s runs towards major finals, this one feels like the sweetest – simply because of the amount of times they have been written off this season.
After losing the likes of Jon Wilkin, Jonny Lomax and Luke Walsh mid-season, many believed the Saints lacked the firepower to progress through the field and reach another Grand Final showpiece.
However, wins against Castleford and Catalan Dragons have gained the Saints a place at Old Trafford, and Roby says when you factor in the amount the team have been regarded as underdogs, it has to rank highly on his list of Grand Final runs.
When asked if it was the sweetest run he’d taken to a major final, Roby said: “I suppose you could say that. It’s always nice when someone writes you off, and you’re the underdog and manage to prove them wrong. It’s definitely sweet – I’m trying to think back to the previous runs, but this one is very special.
“I’m very proud of the team and how we’ve coped as a squad with the effort required for this season. It’s a long year when you think back to starting pre-season in November, and we’ve got ourselves in a really good position that we don’t want to let slip.
“It has been very sweet with the tag of being written off and regarded as the underdogs; hopefully we can use that to our advantage this weekend as well.”
Roby’s Saints side are gearing up to do battle with bitter rivals Wigan again, just four years on from their last Grand Final showdown in 2010. He admits that the occasion of a Saints-Wigan derby is something he relishes, and he is chomping at the bit to get out there and lock horns with the old enemy.
He said: “They’re always special nights; you’re born into not liking Wigan, and they don’t like you. They’re always fantastic atmospheres, I’m sure it will be a great buzz at Old Trafford, and I really just can’t wait to get out there and do battle with them.”