St Helens coach Justin Holbrook praises hat-trick hero Makinson after Hull win

Justin Holbrook. Picture: SWPix
Justin Holbrook. Picture: SWPix

St Helens coach Justin Holbrook singled out Tommy Makinson for special praise after the winger's hat-trick helped see off Hull at the KCOM Stadium.

All three of the England international's tries came in the first half as Saints ran out 22-6 winners to end Hull's hopes of a Super League play-off place.

Holbrook, who leaves the club at the end of the season to be replaced by Kristian Woolf, said: "Tommy was brilliant and our best by far.

"When we weren't at our best with the ball he came up with some great finishes.

"But he also gets us out of our own end better than anyone else in the game. He did that and showed what a great player he is."

Mark Percival and Regan Grace added second-half tries for Saints, who finished the season a massive 16 points clear of second-placed Wigan in the standings.

Holbrook added: "To be good enough to finish 16 points clear of second spot is a huge effort.

"Someone told me it was the biggest winning margin over second place in the game over here.

"It doesn't win you a trophy at Old Trafford but it is a huge credit to the playing group for turning up to play at a certain level every week."

Saints will now have a weekend off before facing reigning champions Wigan or Salford in their opening play-off game.

Holbrook added of Friday's win: "In the first half we came up with some good tries and defended really well.

"We wanted a tough hit out and we got it. We have earned the right to have a week off to get ourselves ready for the finals.

"We knew Hull had everything to play for, so we expected a tough game and we got that. It was end to end in the first half."

With Wigan having beaten Castleford 24 hours previously, Hull still had a chance to earn a play-off spot of their own.

However, despite a first-half try from Scott Taylor, they fell short.

Hull boss Lee Radford said: "Defensively, I was really pleased. Offensively, the last month has shown us some areas of improvement and give us some real focus for the off season.

"This last month has just shown us where we need to improve."

Radford also hailed his side's fans for their support against Saints.

He added: "I have had some real flack this last month and rightly so. You expect that as a head coach with some of our performances.

"But I can't thank them enough for getting behind the team this evening with all the noise they made.

"You probably don't realise the impact it has on the side. I have played in front of that crowd and I know you can find an extra little effort when they are as vocal as that.

"Everybody had us finishing seventh, eighth or ninth. Every pundit on the planet so either we did exceptionally well to get up to second and third and a Challenge Cup semi-final. Or we didn't do a good enough job to stay in it."