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Four candidates to replace Justin Holbrook at St Helens

Four candidates to replace Justin Holbrook at St Helens
© Reuters
Holbrook is leaving Saints to join Gold Coast Titans.

St Helens are on the look-out for a new head coach following confirmation that Justin Holbrook will return to Australia at the end of the season.

Here PA takes a look at four of the potential candidates who could replace him.

Jason Demetriou

Rugby League – Engage Super League – The Magic Weekend – Wakefield Wildcats v Bradford Bulls – Murrayfield Stadium
Jason Demetriou played for Wakefield for seven seasons before turning his hand to coaching (PA Images/Lynne Cameron)

Demetriou, now 43, is familiar to English rugby league fans, having spent virtually his entire playing career on these shores, initially with the defunct Lancashire Lynx but for seven years with Wakefield, where he was made captain. He cut his coaching teeth with Keighley and, after returning to Australia, rose to prominence by steering Northern Pride to Queensland Cup glory. That earned him a stint as Wayne Bennett's number two at Brisbane and he followed the England boss to South Sydney.

Richard Marshall

Rochdale Hornets v Swinton Lions – Betfred Championship Summer Bash – Bloomfield Road
Richard Marshall is currently Justin Holbrook's assistant (PA Images/Richard Sellers)

Marshall is technically already in position, having succeeded Sean Long as assistant to Justin Holbrook six weeks ago. The 43-year-old was a useful back-row forward in his playing days with Halifax, Huddersfield and London Broncos and had his coaching apprenticeship under Tony Smith at Warrington. He was head coach for four and a half years at Halifax, where he ensured the part-time Championship club were top-four contenders every year until his surprise sacking in April.

Ian Watson

Salford Red Devils v Wigan Warriors – Betfred Super League – AJ Bell Stadium
Ian Watson has worked wonders at Salford (PA Images/Nigel French)

Watson was a Welsh international scrum-half who gave splendid service to Salford, Rochdale, Halifax, Swinton, Oldham, Leigh and Widnes before carving out a successful coaching career. He began at Swinton before teaming up with his old Wales boss Iestyn Harris at Salford, where he stepped up as head coach in 2016. Constantly working on a tight budget and with a series of off-field issues that would have tested more experienced men, Watson continued to defy all expectations by turning the Red Devils into play-off contenders and his stature was recognised by his addition to the Great Britain backroom team.

Shaun Wane

St Helens v Wigan Warriors – Betfred Super League – Totally Wicked Stadium
Would former Wigan coach Shaun Wane be tempted to throw his hat into the ring? (PA Images/Richard Sellers)

It would rank as one of the more unlikely appointments since Wane spent nearly four decades as player, scout and coach at arch rivals Wigan but it cannot be ruled out. Wane, 54, left his home-town club at the end of the 2018 season, shortly after guiding them to a third Grand Final triumph, to take up the part-time role of high-performance coach with the Scottish Rugby Union. But he remains a rugby league man and expressed an interest in the Leeds vacancy earlier in the year.

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James Roby in action for St Helens on April 12, 2019
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