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St Helens' James Roby: Don't write us off
INSPIRATIONAL James Roby feels Saints’ aspirations of a seventh successive Grand Final appearance should not be written off after a disappointing home defeat to Warrington Wolves on Monday.
Although a seven-match unbeaten run was ended convincingly by a dominant Wolves team winning on St Helens soil for the first time since 1994, the hooker is confident that the frustrating night’s work can be put behind the team ahead of Sunday’s trip to Wakefield and beyond.
With four rounds to go – and with Wolves second and Saints five points behind in third – the two are on a course to collide again at The Halliwell Jones Stadium when the play-offs campaign starts on the weekend of September 14-16.
“No-one can ever right us off as a team with the quality of players we’ve got and the ability in the team,” he said.
“I’m totally confident in our team as a bunch of players that if we go out there and do our job we’ll be fine.
“Hopefully we can do that now until the end of the regular rounds and then use our big-game experience in the play offs.
“Big-game experience has helped us over the past few years to get to the finals.
“We’re as hungry as ever to get back to Old Trafford and we want that trophy to be coming back here.
“We’ve been in tough positions before, including early on this year when we were eighth/ninth in the table, but you just have to show your character as a team and as individuals.
“Losing to Warrington wasn’t a setback. It was a game we wanted to win but it doesn’t mean it’s derailed our season hopes.
“We just need to get straight back to winning ways this week and forget about that game, put it down to being a little off our game and saying fair play to Warrington who were the better team on the night.
“Then if we do play Warrington again in the play-offs in a few weeks’ time, then we’ll try to get revenge on them.
“You can’t win every game and Monday’s will be forgotten if we do go on to win at Old Trafford.”
Moving forward, Roby feels improvement is needed in a few areas.
“We’ve got to play our sets a little better,” he said.
“I think Warrington only had their first tackle in their own 20m area once or twice during the game.
“In terms of field position, they were on top and it’s always going to be a hard battle when it’s taking a lot of energy out of you by defending all the time.
“We’ve just got to be a little bit more clinical too, taking our opportunities when they come especially in the big games when you’re not going to get many opportunities.
“And a couple of small errors in defence cost us tries.
“It’s not a case of not working hard or anything like that. It’s just that on the night when it’s 100mph you’ve got to make a split-second decision and on a couple of occasions we probably made the wrong decision.”