Holbrook looking forward to “special” opening match

Holbrook looking forward to “special” opening match

St Helens kick off their 2018 Super League campaign on Friday as they take on Castleford, the team who denied them a place at Old Trafford.

Luke Gale’s drop-goal in Extra Time saw the Tigers through to their first Grand Final at the expense of the Saints in what was one of the games of the season. The two now meet again in their first game of the new season. 

Saints Head Coach Justin Holbrook is relishing welcoming the Tigers to the Totally Wicked Stadium; “it’s a big game isn’t it! I think it’s great! Any team would be hard but the way that game finished last year and to draw that round one is pretty special. I think it’s the right fit and one we are looking forward to”.

Australian Holbrook took over from club legend Kieran Cunningham mid way through the 2017 season, and he says he’s enjoyed his first pre-season in the UK; “it’s been good. I stayed around, didn’t go back home or anything. I enjoyed the winter even though we are still in it. Enjoyed training, had a good pre season and we’re looking forward to the season starting”.

With a first full season in charge to come, Holbrook is hoping to go one better than last term and make the Grand Final.

“Well that’s the plan. It was disappointing the way we finished the year, and we’ve got to that as motivation to try and go further this year and try to win it. We’ve got a big job ahead but I’m confident we can get there”.

Saints’ recruitment has been fairly low-key, with only James Bentley joining the club. Holbrook has also kept changes to his coaching and style of play to a minimum;

“I’ve tried to add a little bit, I think you’ve got to keep evolving as a coach, as do the players otherwise they’ll get a bit bored and stale so. We’ve added a little bit to the game, but we’ve got a settled squad and they’ve already got an idea from last year of how we want to operate. We’ve been able to move forward which has been great so looking forward to starting next week”.



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