Holbrook: Exciting challenges ahead

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Justin Holbrook made no rash promises as he reflected on his “exciting challenge” as the new Saints’ supremo.

The former Sydney Roosters assistant coach, who has signed a two and a half year deal at the Totally Wicked Stadium, said: “From my point of view, I can’t say we will be running in the Super 8s or win the competition and there is no reason for me to try to work it out at this stage.

“My job is to come in and give the players a breath of fresh air, and someone else to listen to, as well as taking the pressure off them.

“At this moment in time I have no expectations of wins or losses or where we will finish in the table but it is just a matter of working harder from now on.

“Today I had a review and spoke of other areas we need to work on and improve and the players all bought into it quite well which gives me confident that we can keep playing better.”

Holbrook added: “Obviously, I am not happy where we currently stand in the table - and neither are the players - and that’s why I was probably appointed, not that I’m going to be the saviour but because the club expects to be nearer the top of the league than they are.

“I have got a good squad of players with lots of ability but it is a question of finding more consistency and working from week to week.

“Neither was I concerned at joining a big club like St Helens with their history and reputation and I don’t see it as a stepping stone to eventually returning to Australia and taking a head coaching job in the NRL.

“First and foremost, my aim is to do a good job here but if things pop up down the track you never know where they will lead.

“However, during the next two and a half years I will be totally focused of my job here and hopefully restore the club to where it belongs.”

Neither is the 41-year-old fazed by the sight of a statue outside the ground recognising the playing achievements of his immediate predecessor as head coach, Keiron Cunningham.

He said: “I think it is great. Keiron is a legend at this club and while he is no longer head coach, you don’t suddenly wipe away his contribution to Saints’ history.

“I have not spoken to him yet as I’ve only been in this country a few days but I will catch up with him in the near future.”

Chief executive Mike Rush said: “Justin was always the leading contender and we also appreciated that moving mid-season would play a role.

“We told him the ball was in his court and it was his job if he wanted it and I’m glad to say he accepted our offer.”