HARRY Sunderland winner James Roby could not have been a happier man this week after steering Saints to back-to-back titles.

On Wednesday night the 35-year-old Saints skipper received the vote of confidence from his team-mates who voted him the Players Player of the Year at the club awards night.

It has been quite a week – one in which he collected his fourth Grand Final winners ring.

Fittingly he was packing down alongside his former Blackbrook Royals teammate James Graham – sending him back to Australia with a second winner’s ring to go with the one they won together 14 years ago.

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“It is the only thing I wanted for him. He deserved it. He is a close friend and he is so highly regarded.

“I am made up that he goes back to Australia and retire a happy man.

“Before the game he said, ‘We’ll do it one final time’…and that was brilliant,” he said.

Roby’s only regret was not having the fans in the KCOM Stadium to witness the thrilling climax to this most troubled of campaigns.

He said: “Anything like that in the last seconds is manic anyway, but to do it in a Saints v Wigan Grand final is unbelievable.

“It will get talked about for a long time and go down in history.

“I am gutted the fans were not there as that would have gone off big style in the stadium.

“They would have absolutely loved it.

“We got to live it and experience it and it probably will never happen again, scoring a try in the last second of the game in a manner like that. It was unbelievable.

“It is a great memory that I will cherish for years to come.”

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Saints had walked away from the last regular Super League encounter a bit wounded, particularly as it cost them what would have been a third consecutive League Leaders Shield.

But it certainly brought Saints up to the mark in time for the knockout rugby – the games that really counted.

“You know what you are getting in a Saints Wigan derby and the game a few weeks ago set the tone, they came after us in that game and were very physical.

“I would like to think that we matched them physically in the final and we wanted to right a few wrongs in that respect.

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“For large parts of the game we were the better team and winning field position.

“But Wigan never go away and got that try.

“We knew it was going to be a mad game and a tough game.

“But the way it ended was insane,” Roby said.

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The players underwent a review this week and will then break until early January.

But after such a gruelling 2020, skipper Roby believes his side have reaped the benefits from the graft they put in and their commitment to do the right thing in an often tough, isolated lockdown period.

“It has been a tough year – we have done the right thing since the initial lockdown,” he said.

“We were all in tip-top shape after the 16 weeks away – I really do think that has helped us put our best foot forward.

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“Once we did start back we all abided by all the Covid protocols and the non-playing staff have worked hard to make sure we have an elite, secure environment.

“It has been hard work, but we got on with it and did and by doing the right things throughout the year has paid dividends.”