Holbrook refuses to blame match officials for Cas loss

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Justin Holbrook refused to lay the blame for Castleford’s debatable late match-winning try on the officials.

Subsequent video evidence seemed to suggest that scrum half Tom Holmes was in an offside position as he chased winger Greg Minikin’s kick ahead eight minutes from time but the Saints’ boss was realistic enough to admit that decisions of this kind even themselves out over the course of a season.

“I could not tell at the time whether the player was offside or not and the referee didn’t have the luxury of a video replay,” said Holbrook.

“I am certainly not holding the officials accountable. They are under a great deal of pressure making decisions but I’m not blaming them, even though having seen a replay later the player looked offside.

“At the same time I’m definitely not saying that ruling stopped us winning, though a different decision could have helped.’’

The 16-12 defeat was Holbrook’s first setback since taking over the coaching reins at the Totally Wicked Stadium and confessed he was disappointed by the final result.

He said: “We battled hard but it was disappointing after we’d worked so well on a few things in training on how we were going to improve our game and unfortunately we didn’t do those today.

“I can’t fault the effort but we have to improve and get better in order to climb the table, starting on Friday when we entertain Widnes and hopefully the fans will turn up in their thousands to back the boys.”

Jonny Lomax returned to the fold at the Mend-A-Hose Jungle after missing a large part of the season due to injury.

He replaced stand-off Theo Fages who was rested after suffering concussion in the game against Wigan Warriors.

Holbrook said: “I thought Jonny went well. It was good to have him back but I’m not expecting him to come in and produce miracles and big plays straight away.”