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James Roby - Saints v Leeds games bring out big game focus
JAMES Roby thankfully does not remember a great deal about his first ever Saints v Leeds game during his debut season in 2004.
Then aged 18, Roby was powerless to make an impact from the bench that day as Ian Millward’s team suffered a 70-0 humiliation.
In subsequent seasons, Saints’ record has been much better and less erratic with the clash against Leeds always seeming to bring the best out of the men in the red vee.
Last year Saints, whose last home defeat by the Rhinos was March 2008, did the double over the eventual champions with the game at Langtree Park sparking the season to life after a dismal start.
Looking forward to Friday’s clash with some relish, Roby said: “They’re usually tight games of a good standard.
“We have played each other enough in big games, we know what will be needed and try and be at the top of our game.
“Saints-Leeds always a massive game anyway, coming off the back of a decent win at Bradford puts us in a positive frame of mind, turning up at training it is a happier place.
“Everyone is bouncing around the place a little more and it is a nicer environment.”
Despite two away wins, Saints are still searching for their first home success of the season to really get the season going.
And after their thumping of Bradford last Saturday they will go into the game against the Rhinos in good shape.
Roby said: “Everywhere has an atmosphere – this place (Langtree ) has but it is a different one. We need to get a home win to get our season going and get the fans as vocal as we can and repay them.”
With the weeks showing steady improvement, culminating in the best year against the Bulls on Saturday, Roby is keen for the team to take that up another notch.
They will need to, draining as it was Leeds’ game against NRL champions Melbourne Storm will have brought them up to the mark.
Roby said: “Leeds will be keen to strike back. Obviously, it is Saints Leeds, it will be a massive game.
“They will be disappointed in losing that game. They did well in the first half and from what I heard they were unlucky to lose the game.
“They are coming off the back of a physical game. We are coming off the back of a win and we are confident, climbing the ladder of improvement each week and hopefully hit peak form at some point.
“Ours was a good win on Saturday and the best performance of the season so far. It was one of those games where we had momentum straight away, we got points on the board.
“You know these weeks are generally ‘bigger’ games, not your must win games but you want to get one over on your rivals.
“Maybe in training it is a little more intense and perhaps we are a little more focused. There is a big game mentality.
“I don’t think you hold off waiting for those weeks. You are week by week – especially this time at the season.
“There is no point looking at the playoffs. Play week by week and see where you are at mid-season. We are playing Leeds, the lads will know it is a massive game and we want to win it.”