Roby steps up for Saints
Impressive start to the season in defeat from new-look Broncos
Last Updated: 04/02/12 7:57pm
James Roby: crucial contribution for Saints
St Helens got their new Super League campaign off to a winning start but they were made to battle every step of the way by London Broncos at the Stoop.
England hooker James Roby grabbed a late clinching try, created two others and produced an all-action display to guide Saints to a comeback triumph.
Following their off-season recruitment drive, the Broncos fielded a new-look line-up, with seven players in the starting 13 making their debut in London colours.
Saints themselves had Lance Hohaia and Anthony Laffranchi making their first starts, with Paul Wellens and Michael Shenton missing due to injury.
The visitors went ahead in the fourth minute, Roby slicing open the Broncos defence and allowing Jonny Lomax to canter home.
The Londoners soon had a try of their own though, Michael Witt's clever kick gathered by Michael Robertson who crashed over.
Saints, last season's losing Grand Finalists, were content to kick for territory and force the hosts to attack from deep.
And the percentages game paid off for St Helens after 19 minutes when the Broncos were penalised, Andrew Dixon cashing in moments later after stepping inside Luke Dorn to touch down.
The visitors had their tails up, and opened up an eight-point lead shortly afterwards thanks to the boot of Jamie Foster after the Broncos were penalised once more.
There was still plenty of life in the hosts though, Olsi Krasniqi reducing the arrears when he muscled through three tacklers to crash over.
Saints nudged further ahead with another Foster penalty, only for some magic from former union star Craig Gower to give the hosts the lead for the first time right on half-time.
Scrum-half Gower elected to chip on the last tackle, catching the Saints defence off-guard and allowing Chris Bailey to storm over by the sticks.
It did not take long for the visitors to bounce back as another Roby break freeing up Foster to cross in the corner.
Royce Simmons' men slowly seemed to be getting the upper hand, with the hosts twice unable to convert spells of possession close to the Saints line.
And the visitors were to make them pay, Francis Meli helping himself to a try after Robertson made a hash of gathering a Gaskell grubber.
To their credit though, the Londoners had not given up the fight, with another Gower kick causing confusion and Witt grasping the loose ball to touch down after 65 minutes.
The game was proving a real thriller, but it was Roby who fittingly had the final word when he wriggled over to seal the points.
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