Justin Holbrook looking to extend stay at St Helens

Justin Holbrook, Picture: SWPix
Justin Holbrook, Picture: SWPix

St Helens coach Justin Holbrook is ready to commit his future to the Betfred Super League leaders.

The 43-year-old Australian is out of contract at the end of the season, having joined Saints on a two-and-a-half-year deal in May 2017, but says he has already begun preliminary talks on his future with chairman Eamonn McManus.

"I've had a quick chat to the chairman," said Holbrook, whose side opened up a four-point gap at the top after a 36-10 win over Wigan on Good Friday.

"We just wanted to wait until after the busy Easter period and have a chat in May.

"I'm happy with that, he's happy with that. I'm obviously enjoying it here. It's a great club and I love the playing group.

"I've enjoyed it ever since I got here. I haven't got any plans to leave."

Much of the success of St Helens, who are at home to fourth-placed Hull on Easter Monday, has been down to the performances of Australian Lachlan Coote, who has slotted effortlessly into the full-back role vacated by 2018 Man of Steel Ben Barba.

"He's awesome," said Holbrook. "I say it every week, he is such a calming influence on our side."

Coote himself says he was always confident he could fill the considerable boots of Barba by bringing his own particular set of skills to Super League.

"I was always confident about what I was going to bring to the team," said the former North Queensland Cowboys full-back.

"What Ben Barba achieved over here in a short period of time is testament to what sort of player he is.

"I'm a different sort of player. I'm probably a more defensive full-back. Rather than running and scoring a 100-metre try, I'd rather save one."

Barba wooed the Saints fans with his dazzling runs but the 29-year-old Coote has become such a favourite that he been given his own song.

"I got a bit emotional last week with the amount of support I'm getting from the fans," Coote said.

"I had the song in my head all night. I can't stop singing it and I know the lyrics now.

"It's unreal, something that I've never experienced before, it just keeps you buzzing for the whole game."

Coote, who won the 2015 NRL Grand Final with the Cowboys, played for Scotland in the 2016 Four Nations Series and is therefore qualified to represent Great Britain.

He says he is not expecting to get a call for the end-of-season Lions' tour to New Zealand and Papua New Guinea but would not turn it down.

"If I get picked, it would be a great little trip to go on," said Coote, who qualifies for Scotland through the grandparent rule.

"It would be a bit odd but it would be no different to playing for Scotland I guess and that was probably one of the best experiences of my career so far.

"I've only played three games (for Scotland) and don't really deserve it I guess but I'd put my hand up, one hundred per cent."