Roby: We deserve Grand Final glory
St Helens hooker James Roby believes his side deserve another chance to end their Old Trafford jinx and he is hoping they can take a significant step towards achieving it in Saturday's qualifying play-off.
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Victory over Warrington at the Halliwell Jones Stadium would take Saints to within 80 minutes of a seventh successive Grand Final appearance.
No club can match their consistency in Super League but it is six years since they claimed the last of their five titles and for the last five seasons their visits to the Theatre of Dreams have produced nothing but nightmares.
"It's gutting when you think about the amount of effort we have put in," said Roby, who has appeared in all six finals.
"We have constantly got to the final. That is a massive achievement for us, to get there six years on the row, but obviously the last five years have not been very happy for us.
"We really want to get there again this year and make it the other result, where we win.
"I think for the amount of work we have put in in recent years we definitely deserve it. Hopefully as a group of players we can do that for each other."
Saints looked far from Grand Final contenders in mid-March when they found themselves outside the top eight after picking up just a point from five matches, a run that cost head coach Royce Simmons his job.
They steadily climbed the table under caretaker coaches Mike Rush and Keiron Cunningham and included an away win over Warrington before finishing the regular season with a flourish at Wigan last Friday.
"We are happy with the way we have been playing lately," Roby added.
"At the time when Royce left, lads were down because of the results.
"Royce is one of those blokes that all the lads were very fond of and we have all kept in contact with him.
"But, having said that, we have got a new coach and we are trying to achieve things at Old Trafford now.
"It is obviously a big game this week and we can't look any further than that.
"We have to prepare the best we can because Warrington are a quality team. They have quality players throughout their squad. They have finished second in the league and they fully deserve their status.
"There is an aura about them this year. They might be favourites for the game, I am not sure. We need to be at our best."
The play-offs get under way on Friday night when table-toppers Wigan host Catalan Dragons.
The losers at both the DW Stadium and the Halliwell Jones Stadium will have another chance to reach the last four via next week's elimination semi-finals but it is already sudden death for defending champions Leeds, who host form team Wakefield at Headingley on Saturday.