Justin Holbrook expected to attend Magic Weekend

editorial image

One of Justin Holbrook's first major tasks as the new Saints' coach will be picking the squad for the game against old foes Wigan Warriors at the Totally Wicked Stadium a week on Thursday.

The Aussie is expected to arrive in St Helens towards the end of this week but Sean Long - one of the club's three-man coaching team temporarily holding the fort - revealed yesterday that Holbrook is likely to have a watching brief only when his new charges take on Hull FC on Saturday as part of the Magic Weekend at St James's Park - the home of Football Championship winners, Newcastle United - and will officially take over the reins on Monday.

He said: “It will be an extra incentive for the boys to impress their new boss because they will all be playing for their jerseys and at this moment in time they need a lift.”

The clubs have already met this season at the KCOMM Stadium when the Airlie Birds earned a hard-fought 24-14 victory but Saints will be determined to even the score.

“It was a close game last time but when I looked at the video again this week we turned over too much ball,” said the interim coach.

“Had we kept hold of it longer we could so easy have picked up both points.”

Long went on: “Hull are a dangerous and quality side but it will be a case of focusing on ourselves on the day.”

He also felt the boys had reacted positively in training following the Challenge Cup hammering at Castleford, insisting: “We were disappointed by the result and what was our worse performance of the season but the good thing about Rugby League is you can get things right again in five or six days and hopefully turn the corner.”