James Roby’s great words to St Helens team before golden point in World Club Challenge


“Listen lads, we’re alright here – we’re going to win this game.”

That was the soon-to-be-immortalised message from James Roby – who described the win as the “pinnacle” of a his 500-plus game career – passed onto his reeling charges when they conceded a converted try with less than two minutes left in regulation time.

Man of the match Jack Welsby had failed to take a bomb and Penrith winger Brian To’o scored a converted touchdown for 12-12, after St Helens had led throughout.

“Robes has come on the field and he said ‘listen lads, we’re alright here, we’re going to win this game’,” Welsby recalled.

“We’ve gone and done it.”

Explaining his thinking as the world title bout reached flashpoint, Roby explained: “One of the keys is not to panic.

“They scored with less than two minutes to go. It’s going to rattle you a little and shock the system.

“But the key is you’ve been on top for most of the game. Carry on similar to the way you’ve been going.

”At that point in time everybody’s tired, everybody’s out on their feet and you’re just doing whatever you can to keep the competition out.

“When they did equalise the game and it went to extra time, it was more about keeping calm heads, doing what we practise day-in and day-out. Don’t try and make something up.

“Luckily for us, we got the ball in a good field position. Lewis Dodd said ‘get me to the right post’. That’s what we did. Luckily for us he kicked the goal. 

“If was a fantastic feeling. If you could bottle that feeling when the kick went over….”

Dodd, 21, was the epitome of a calm head as he matched Welsby’s Grand Final winning feat of 2020

“It’s credit to both teams really,” the 21-year-old Dodd said.

“We led 12-0 for most of that game. Penrith fought back. They’re a classy outfit, they really are a good side, there’s no denying it.

“But we knew that’s the type of team we are. We knew that. The world didn’t. We showed the world tonight that we’ll go with anyone for as long as it takes.

“We believe in ourselves and hopefully the rest of the world does now.”

Immediately after full-time, the players, fans and officials were trying to put the result into a historical perspective.

Asked to rank the victory, 37-year-old Roby said: “It’s got to be up there right at the top.

“Playing against this Penrith team where everyone wrote us off. Nobody fancied us to win the game, but we always had that inner belief in ourselves where we know what we’re about and we know how we can perform.

“We went out there and did that. That’s probably up there as the pinnacle of my career.

“We wanted to come and earn some respect. You earn respect by your performances on the field. Tonight’s performance will go a long way towards doing that because that Penrith team is fantastic.”

Coach Paul Wellens reflected: “I remember as a kid watching the Wigan team come over here and beat that great Brisbane team in ’94.

“Given the fact a victory like that has never happened since, it’s a seismic result in British Rugby League.

“I’ve just said that to the players: it’s a monumental victory for us as a club and for the British game. It’s one that we should celebrate. 

“And I’m just honoured and proud to be part of such a great club and a great team.”