James Roby stays with St Helens as retired legend details his new wide-ranging role

Drew Darbyshire
James Roby St Helens Alamy

James Roby will remain with his beloved St Helens, with the recently retired hooker joining Paul Wellens’ backroom staff to cover a wide range of roles.

The legendary No. 9 hung up his boots at the end of last season following a trophy-laden 20-year playing career, finishing up as Saints’ all-time appearance holder with 551 games to his name.

Roby won six Super League titles, four Challenge Cups, eight League Leaders’ Shields and two World Club Challenge titles during his stellar playing career in the Red V.

The Saints have now confirmed that their local hero will remain with the club for the foreseeable future in the role which is officially titled ‘leadership, culture and performance coach’.

Describing his new wide-ranging job, Roby said: “First and foremost I’m another coach around the place to help with Paul Wellens, Laurent Frayssinous, Matty Smith, and the other coaching staff.

“I’ll be taking the lead on the things we do as a team that deal with our values, our culture, and the leadership aspect of that.

“I’ll be mentoring some of the players to a degree, and from a performance mindset, I’ll be doing individual one-on-one coaching where we will focus on people as an individual, trying to just squeeze a little bit more out of them if we can by a different approach.

“St Helens is home for me and I’ve had a very lucky 20-year career, come to the end of that, and it is a little bit scary at times”

“You think about what’s next and what to go into and I explored a lot of different possibilities and opportunities but in the end, this role became available. To stay in the environment that I know, I’m very familiar with all the staff, and all the players, it’s a very easy transition for me as a retiring player.

“But this is also a role that I’m really passionate about. It’s a role where I really want to add value and make a positive difference. I’m ambitious, just like I was as a player, I’m ambitious to succeed in this new role.

“I’m very open to learning, I know that I’ve got a lot of sort of up-skilling to do and things that I’ll learn on the go or on the job but I’m welcoming that challenge and embracing it. The challenge of working with these professional athletes day in and day out, trying to squeeze a little bit more out of them, that extra per cent, it really excites me.

“We’ve got a very strong and stable culture that has been developed over many, many years and if you look at our trophy cabinet, this club is built on success. It’s built on hard work, and honesty, there are a lot of attributes that go into it and good people make good cultures. Part of my job will be to maintain that.”

St Helens delighted to see former team-mate and old pal James Roby sticking around

St Helens coach Wellens said: “James is one of the most respected people to ever to be part of our club, so for him to continue to be involved with us, with the aim to improve our players as both individuals and members of our playing team.”

Saints chief executive Mike Rush added: “It’s been in the works for a long time. There is no doubting how much James Roby loves St Helens and to have him continue to be part of the club and look to improve our players on and off the field is an ideal fit.

“There were several avenues that James could have chosen after finishing his playing career, so we’re delighted to keep him.

“The role will not be limited to the first team, James’ work will cover all areas of the club, and I am more than sure his work will be highly beneficial for the Saints.”

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