James Roby believes he has never played in a better St Helens side than the one that claimed Super League Grand Final glory on Saturday.
Saints beat shock finalists Salford Red Devils 23-6 at Old Trafford to secure a first title in five years and ensure a fitting farewell for departing head coach Justin Holbrook, who is returning to the NRL with Gold Coast Titans.
After dominating the regular season in 2018, Holbrook's men were found wanting at the semi-final stage, but their dominance of the competition was rewarded on this occasion as they beat rivals Wigan Warriors and Salford in the play-offs having lost just three league games all year.
Veteran hooker Roby, who made his 450th appearance for the club on Saturday, is no stranger to success with Saints, having claimed multiple Grand Final victories and a Man of Steel award in a fantastic 15-year career on Merseyside.
Asked in a news conference how the current crop compares to previous great St Helens sides he has featured in, Roby said: "I think it's hard to compare teams from different eras but, in my opinion, this team is the best for a number of reasons.
"Just the calibre of the blokes we've got. There's no bad apples, if you like, in the group. We're really strong, connected, and the work ethic that drives everything we do [is key].
"We've got a full team of grafters, really, who will do whatever they need to do to get the job done. I think that showed on the field this year. I'm hugely proud and privileged to be able to call myself the captain. To lift the trophy is a dream come true.
"At the end of the day, we deserve it. We finished the season 16 points clear, we've been so consistent, so dominant if you like, but we had to get over the line today. Luckily we did."
Props Alex Walmsley and Luke Thompson played an integral role in Saints' win over Salford, the latter collecting the Harry Sunderland Trophy for the man of the match following a sensational 72-minute stint.
"I feel sweet, I feel like I could do another 72," said Thompson with a smile.
"It's just an unbelievable feeling. We've worked so hard all year as a group and we work hard every week in training. We're made up to do the job for Justin and send him home with some silverware."