SAINTS boss Justin Holbrook rates his skipper James Roby as being up there with Australian test ace Cameron Smith in being in ‘a league of their own’.

The evergreen 33-year-old hooker continues to roll back the years and has so far dropped only one point in the Steve Prescott Man of Steel voting.

His latest effort saw him pull off 50 tackles and cross the whitewash twice as Saints maintained their 100 per cent record at the Super League summit.

Having struggled with injury at the business end of last term, there had been fears that Roby’s powers may have been on the wane.

But the long-serving number nine has started the year fresher than ever, but coach Holbrook suggested they may still have to manage him as the year progresses.

Holbrook said: “We managed him last year when he missed four games at the back end of the season to get him right.

“And we have to manage him because he only has one gear and that is flat out, but it is a weird way of saying it because he goes flat out but does so in a calming way.

“He turns up wherever he is needed but he seems to do it effortlessly. It is a great trait and not many can have it in this game.

“Rugby league is all about aggression, power and strength – and Robes finds a way.

“He is very similar to a Cameron Smith type player where they know how to get around a game for 80 minutes – and could play another game if they had to.

“Those two guys are in a league of their own on how to play this game.”

There is no sign yet of any rotation policy - but Holbrook said there would be options, should they be needed.

"Well if Robes has no issues then we will just play him – because he’s an 80-minute player.

"But if he gets a few niggles we have got some good young hookers including Aaron Smith, and with Morgan Knowles having filled in at nine last year and was outstanding. So we have options there," he said.