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'It's not about me' - Holbrook proud of Saints' performance

'It's not about me' - Holbrook proud of Saints' performance
© Reuters
St Helens won in their first game after their Australian coach announced he is leaving the club at the end of the season.

St Helens ended a week which saw their coach Justin Holbrook announce he was leaving the club for NRL side Gold Coast Titans by beating Wakefield Trinity.

Scrum-half Danny Richardson scored 14 of his team's 26 points as the Challenge Cup finalists piled the pressure on relegation-threatened Wakefield.

The home side led 20-2 at the break and there was just a try apiece in an error-strewn second half.

— St.Helens R.F.C. (@Saints1890) August 2, 2019

Wakefield now find themselves in deep relegation trouble and have won just once in their last 11 games in all competitions.

Holbrook admitted it had been a testing week for himself and the club as a whole but he was pleased to pick up two more points which edge them closer to the League Leaders' Shield.

He said: "It was a really good performance from us tonight after an emotional week.

"It has been very tough and I'm trying not to make it about me. I was really proud of the way they played tonight.

"Wakefield are in a dangerous spot on the ladder and it was a slow type of game.

"Defensively we were fantastic and I thought we handled the second half well and got the win, which was the main thing tonight."

Holbrook received a warm reception after the game from the home fans in the first game since he confirmed his departure at the end of the season.

"I love the fans and that reaction meant a lot to me," he said. "When I first came here, all I wanted was to get the team playing the best they can.

"It is difficult to leave a team when they're going so well but I have loved every minute here at St Helens and want to enjoy the rest of the year, that's for sure."

Saints play Warrington next, the team they will face in the Challenge Cup Final later this month.

"It will be tough for both sides next week and awkward given the Challenge Cup is only a couple of weeks away," said Holbrook.

Chris Chester
Chris Chester was frustrated by Wakefield's sluggish spell in the first half (Richard Sellers/PA)

Wakefield coach Chris Chester said: "I thought we tried hard and never gave in but we had a tough 12-minute period where we didn't touch the ball and Saints scored three tries.

"There was not a great deal between the two sides all night but we didn't show any real patience in the final third of the field.

"You can't afford not to touch the ball for nine sets. I thought we started the game really well and restricted Saints in the second half so there were lots of positives. But once again it's a loss and we have to find a way to get out of this hole that we're in.

"I let some of the players know at half-time that it wasn't good enough – a few players were taking short cuts.

"They have trained really hard during the week but we need to fix what we do with the ball. We got outsmarted."

Chester confirmed he was trying hard to bring in at least "two fresh bodies" in the wake of injuries to Danny Kirmond and Reece Lyne.

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Justin Holbrook pictured in July 2019
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Head coach Justin Holbrook to leave St Helens at end of season

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