James Roby well and truly best No.9 in England, says Brown

St Helens head coach Nathan Brown believes the past six weeks have well and truly confirmed that James Roby is the best hooker in England, saying he has put to bed any talk of being overthrown as England’s top rake.

The performances of Daryl Clark had been earning the Castleford hooker rave reviews in 2014, but Brown has constantly said that Roby is still the man Steve McNamara should put his trust in for the Four Nations.

And the Saints boss believes that, after spearheading the Saints’ charge to within 80 minutes of the Grand Final, there can be little doubting over who England’s top hooker is, saying that the stats simply do not lie.

“There were a lot of reports six or seven weeks ago stating that Robes was no longer the best hooker in England, but I think the last six weeks have put that one to bed,” Brown said.

“The thing with Robes, which is different to all the other hookers in this competition and most in Australia, is that he plays 80 minutes.

“It is the toughest position on the field and yet even when he does 65 tackles, as long as his forwards are matching the opposition, he still has a massive impact with the attack.

“When most other hookers make 65 tackles, their attacking game disintegrates because they lack the energy to attack. That is what makes Robes so unique – he is doing a job that everyone else has two men doing.

“As my old my old man said to me last week – you may have lost some good players, but you don’t ever want to lose that bloke (talking about Robes). He won’t take the recognition – and says he is playing like he is playing because of the team.

“But some of his performances are out of the box, especially when you consider what we have missing. The opposition know that they need to minimise the impact of James Roby.”