SAINTS skipper James Roby has spoken about his pride and privilege in being able to lead his hometown team to Grand Final glory.

He also spelled out the injury concerns that has meant him playing through the pain barrier to get to Old Trafford – and personally thanked all of his team mates for “carrying” him.

He also ranked this class of 2019 the pick of the teams he has played with – high praise given the calibre of that 2006 winning side that won the treble.

Roby said: “It is an amazing feeling and such a privilege for myself as a hometown lad.

“It is a dream come true.

“As a child you watch your heroes doing it – that feeling to lead the team out and then go on and win the thing is unbelievable.

“It is one of those that I maybe only think about a few years down the line when I start thinking back.

“I am so proud to do it; proud because of the bunch we have got at the minute and the work ethic they have and the people we have involved in the club, driven by Justin.

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“We are all sad to see Justin leave but it was great to cap his stay here off in that manner.

“It is a chapter in Justin’s coaching career that is brought to a fitting end.”

A Grand Final winner in 2006 and 2014, Roby explained why the 2019 is the best of the bunch.

“It is up there – in my opinion this team is the best for a number of reasons.

“Just the calibre of the blokes we have got. There are no bad apples in the group.

“We are really strong and connected and the work ethic drives it through.

“We have a full team of grafters that will do whatever we need to do to get the job done,” he said..

Roby underwent groin surgery in July, meaning he missed a good of the games leading up to the Challenge Cup Final, and then tweaked it again at Hull in the last round of the regular season.

He praised the medical and conditioning staff, plus his understudy Aaron Smith, as well as his teammates for ensuring that he could climb the podium as a winner.

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Roby explained: “I have been struggling off and on this year – it is a bit of wear and tear from over the years.

“This team has carried me through and I have got to be thankful to the team here for doing that.

“The physio staff for getting me back on the field and the conditioning staff, too.

“Training methods have evolved over the years and an ageing player like myself we have to modify a few bits, but it has worked.

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“I managed to get through most of the game and we have obviously got young Aaron Smith – who celebrated his birthday today – and what a birthday it was.

“It is fantastic – I am thankful to all the lads and I said thanks to them all straight away for carrying me through this.”

That has shown on the field this year and I am hugely honoured and privileged to call myself the captain.

Roby was joined by family members as he led the team in front of the packed Stretford End – every single one of them, players, staff and fans alike, wanting to savour that winning feeling.

“It was fantastic at the end, we did not want to leave,” he said.

“It was great for all the fans to stay and moments like that you have to savour and enjoy.

“At the end of the day we deserved it.

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“We finished the season 16 points clear, we have been so consistent, so dominant if you like, we had to get over the line today and luckily we did that.”

Whether Roby makes the Great Britain tour to New Zealand, given his injury, seems a doubt now – but he was not even taking that selection for granted.

“We are not entirely sure yet about the tour.

“It has been an ongoing issue (with my injury) and I have maybe got to start prioritising my health over a few more caps.

“But to be honest I wouldn’t bet on being selected this year. Daz Clarke has had a great year and Josh Hodgson is obviously doing so well in Canberra,” he said.