St Helens coach Kristian Woolf says having James Roby fit will be vital to their hopes of claiming a fourth straight Betfred Super League title (St Helens – 11/10 Outright).
The hooker controlled the game as Saints secured their 18th win in 22 outings in 2022, beating Castleford 20-12 to restore their four-point cushion at the top of the table, following Wigan’s 32-6 win over Wigan (11/4 Grand Final Winner) on Friday.
Curtis Sironen, Morgan Knowles and Joe Batchelor went over for Saints, with Tommy Makinson kicking four out of five attempts at goal.
For Cas, the defeat will have been especially tough for Bureta Faraimo, who scored a hat-trick in just 13 minutes, but all three scores went unconverted to allow the hosts to ease home.
With Regan Grace’s season-ending Achilles issue adding to Saints’ injury woes, Woolf has had to utilise his squad to the fullest, with youngster Jon Bennison excelling at full-back as Morgan Knowles moved into the halves.
The situation has emphasised Roby’s quiet authority in the middle of the field and his coach singled out the 36-year-old for praise in the aftermath of the clash against Cas.
“We made some errors that put us under pressure, but I was a lot happier with us after last week,” Woolf said.
“Castleford, especially in the second half, hung in and made it hard for us to find points.
“James Roby is the best hooker in the game, so to have him in that position was important.”
Elsewhere on Sunday in the Betfred Super League, Leeds Rhinos (14/1 Outright) moved above Salford and into sixth courtesy of a 34-14 win over the Red Devils.
Rhyse Martin contributed 22 points, including two tries, as the Rhinos claimed a fifth win in six games.
In Sunday’s other contest, Fouad Yaha’s hat-trick aided the Catalans Dragons (9/2 Outright) as they ran out the 20-16 winners at Wakefield.
Full-back Arthur Morgue contributed four goals for the French outfit, who firmed up their grip on fourth in the standings.