Justin Holbrook’s record since taking over the reins at St Helens 12 months ago speaks for itself.
The Australian arrived in this country last May ahead of the Newcastle Magic Weekend and it’s fair to say he is not doing too bad a job in what is his first stint as a top level head coach.
I’ve always wanted to be a head coach and to get an opportunity to take the helm at a club of St Helens’ stature was like a dream come trueJustin Holbrook
To date he has helped steer Saints to 24 wins in 33 games and they currently top the Betfred Super League table.
It wasn’t an easy decision to uproot his young family - and move to the other side of the globe - but he felt the time was right to add ‘head coach’ to his growing CV.
This includes roles as assistant coach with Sydney Roosters and previous backroom experience at Canterbury Bulldogs, St George Illawarra and Parramatta Eels, as well as coaching the Australian
“Yes, it was tough as well as a big decision to join Saints, but I suppose it is just the same for any players leaving the NRL for Super League and vice-versa,” said the 42-year-old.
He added: “Once the deal was completed, I couldn’t wait to get over here to start my new job if I am totally honest.
“I’ve always wanted to be a head coach and to get an opportunity to take the helm at a club of St Helens’ stature was like a dream come true.
“But before making my decision I had a long chat with Trent Robinson, my boss at the Roosters.
“Trent had previously coached the Catalans Dragons in Super League and knew the set-up well and gave me his full backing which I fully appreciated.”
Saints are currently challenging on three fronts and hopes are high that at least one piece of silverware will be heading to the Totally Wicked Stadium this year.
They are in the quarter finals of the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup and among the front runners to pick up the League Leaders’ Shield and the Grand Final crown but Holbrook will be taking each game as it comes as he attempts to make as much impact on the club as his fellow Aussie Daniel Anderson did during his reign at Knowsley Road between 2005-2008.
His current contract expires at the end of the 2019 season but whether the club will seek to extend it only time will tell.
A realistic Holbrook said: “It is hard to predict what lies ahead if you are a coach. It’s a lot easier being a player because there are more options available .
“At every level of coaching, I’ve just gone in and enjoyed the work. If you do a good job, it’s still a case of see what happens and it’s the same here as in Australia. What I will say, however, is I’m loving every minute of my time at St Helens and lucky to be working with a fantastic group of players and staff from top to bottom.”