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Rival coaches put friendship to one side in semi-final showdown

Warrington Wolves Head coach, Steve Price
Warrington Wolves Head coach, Steve Price
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A near life-long friendship will go out of the window for at least 80 minutes tomorrow night (Thursday) when two old Australian pals fight for the right to reach the pinnacle of the Rugby League season - the Old Trafford Grand Final.

Saints’ coach Justin Holbrook and his Warrington counterpart Steve Price, who played together as juniors Down Under and were near neighbours, will be pitting their wits against each other in a play-off semi-final which could turn into a classic encounter.

This is born out by the fact that the last time the two met at the Totally Wicked Stadium in July a last-gasp long range penalty from hot-shot scrum half Danny Richardson earned St Helens a nail-biting 14-12 victory.

Holbrook - seeking to reach his first final as a first team coach - said: “The last few weeks have been a little awkward but now we can dust ourselves down and move on.

“However, home advantage doesn’t guarantee us victory but we love playing at the Totally Wicked Stadium and earned the right to stage a semi-final due to our consistency throughout the year.

“We will also have the backing of a vociferous set of fans who will have as important a role to play as the boys on the park if we are to reach the final.”

The head coach added: “It will be a completely a different game to our victory at Warrington a few weeks ago.

“They lost a couple of key players during the game but having said that we, too, can play much better than we did that day.”

Wolves’ boss Steve Price said:’’The reason we play this sport is to win trophies.

“We’re 80 minutes away from Old Trafford and we’re going to have to raise our game a couple more levels on Thursday night. The lads understand that.

St Helens have been the benchmark team all season. We’ll be underdogs but we’re happy with that tag.