HOOKER James Roby played with sickness on Friday night against Widnes - but nobody would have noticed.

The Mr Perpetual Motion of the Saints side produced his usual workrate on both sides of the ball before coming off on 71 minutes when the game was won.

The qualities Roby displays come as no surprise to his new boss Justin Holbrook, who knew what a talent he was from afar.

Not only did the coach instruct the team to work around the England number nine more, he is also keen that the cluster of quality young hookers at the club learn from the former Blackbrook junior.

Holbrook said: “I knew before I came that Robes was one of the best number nines in the comp.

“And the first thing I wanted to do was let him know that and make it clear we needed to work with him a lot more.

“I thought he did that straight away against Hull at Magic.

“We know the importance of him in our team – he is tough and creative and really fit.

“He has all the qualities – great guy and great player.”

Although Roby still has some quality years left in him, Holbrook will have to oversee the bringing on of his next understudy to take the team forward.

And the club has some quality young nines with huge potential in the 19s and reserves.

“We have some good young nines coming through and that is a fortunate position for us to be in,” Holbrook added.

“They need to be watching and learning off Robes as much as they can because he has everything you want as a number nine.

“If those young guys get better and get a chance to play here, great, but if not they may have to leave to get a better opportunity but will be better players for learning off a player like Roby.”

Another option at nine in the short term could be pocket dynamo Theo Fages, who among the players fighting for a shirt when the team is shuffled once Ben Barba arrives.

Fages had a quality game at six on Friday against Widnes.

Holbrook agreed: “We missed Theo the week before against Castleford, particularly his ability to read a game and what he creates.

“Jonny Lomax got a lot of deserved wraps from the Widnes game, which he should do because he played well, but Theo played a big part in that as well.

“He is going well for us and that is good to see.

Holbrook sees versatility in him too, with a view to him being an interchange nine as well as a half.

“He is tough enough and can definitely handle it and is smart enough to attack out of there. He is pretty versatile,” he said.