St Helens coach Justin Holbrook expecting different game at Wembley against Wolves

Kyle Amor takes on the Wolves defence
Kyle Amor takes on the Wolves defence

St Helens coach Justin Holbrook enjoyed his side's 30-12 Super League win over Warrington but knows it will count for little when the two sides meet again at Wembley in a fortnight's time.


Wolves coach Steve Price fielded just eight members of his likely Challenge Cup final team while Saints were without six regulars for the dress rehearsal at the Halliwell Jones Stadium.

Asked if his side's third league win of the season gave them a mental edge over their neighbours ahead of Wembley, Holbrook said: "I don't think so, probably not, to give you an honest answer.

"Both sides obviously had a number of players out so it was a tricky game to play. You still want to play well and we did that tonight.

"I thought we started a bit slow and it was close at half-time but we came away with a good win in the end."

Saints were inspired by acting captain Jonny Lomax and an accomplished display by 18-year-old full-back Jack Welsby, who is expected to make way for the return of Lachlan Coote for the trip to Wembley.

"It was great for young Jack," Holbrook said. "He's had a handful of games with us now and he's getting better every week. I thought he was terrific tonight.

"Obviously we're pushing to have Cooty back for Wembley but we'd have no issue if we had to play him."

Warrington coach Price's gamble on fielding an under-strength team had plenty of merit when they twice held the lead in a highly-competitive first half but they faded after the interval.

The result was a fourth successive defeat which undermines the Wolves' chances of hanging onto second spot in the league but their Challenge Cup ambitions remain intact.

"The result tonight won't be an indication of what's going to happen in two weeks," Price said.

"I'm really proud of the boys. We had a lot of guys banging on the door for an opportunity and they put their hands up.

"We lost our whole bench with 17 minutes to go. We had no one left to go back on and (Chris Hill) Hilly was cramping up so we went with 12 for the last bit but they showed a lot of fighting spirit. We went down swinging."

The Wolves lost England second rower Ben Currie with a head knock after 13 minutes while hooker Danny Walker (ankle) and back rower Luis Johnson (concussion) also failed to finish the game.

"Hopefully they're not too serious," Price said. "We're very fortunate that we have a long turn-around to our next game against Wigan."

Price handed debuts to half-backs Matty Smith, the former St Helens, Wigan and England scrum-half, and 17-year-old Riley Dean while former England rugby union centre Luther Burrell enjoyed a quiet first Super League start.

"I thought it was a real solid hit-out from Luther," Price said. "I've said from day one, Luther's going to make mistakes along the way, it's part of his learning.

"He's only going to get better and better, especially with a full pre-season behind him. I'm pleased with where he's at."