St Helens boss Holbrook explains Barba fan snub

Ben Barba
Ben Barba

Head coach Justin Holbrook has leapt to the defence of fellow Aussie Ben Barba over the misapprehension that he had snubbed Saints’ supporters after their back-to-back defeats against Catalans Dragons and Huddersfield Giants.

On both occasion, the Super League’s top try scorer headed for the dressing room without following the example of his team-mates in acknowledging the backing of their fans.

But Holbrook insisted he would have reacted in the same manner if facing similar circumstances and claimed it represented a difference in culture and tradition between Australia and England when dealing with a defeat.

“It’s not a question of being a bad sport or anything like that, but Benny felt he had let himself and the club down and that’s why he reacted in that manner,” said the St Helens boss.

He added: “He also puts a great deal of pressure on himself over his performances and being something of a perfectionist he takes setbacks harder than most other players.”

Neither did Holbrook subscribe to the theory that growing speculation over the player’s future at the Totally Wicked Stadium had resulted in the full back’s dip in form of late and blamed it on one or two niggling injuries.

He said: “He has only been 80-85 per cent fit in recent weeks due to knee and rib injuries but is now overcoming his problems and I expect him to be firing on all cylinders once we have had a break during cup final week before taking on Wigan at the end of the month.”