We catch up with Justin Holbrook about the importance of using a break to freshen up the squad.
It was hardly what anyone wanted, but with a blank weekend ahead the head coach has given his squad time away to recuperate and get ready for the run in.
Following the win over Wakefield, the players were given a few days off but are now back in training ready for the big derby next Friday.
Yet, whilst a break has its benefits, Holbrook admits it wasn’t one he particularly enjoyed.
“I didn’t really enjoy my time away as I would much rather have been playing this weekend,” he said. “Once it was forced upon us though, I think it was important.
“We’re now focused on the Super League title, so it’s good to freshen up for a few days. If you get away, you always come back keen and raring to go.
“We’ve been relatively injury free this season and that is down in part to our performance medical staff, led by Nathan Mill and Matty Daniels. They are fantastic.
“Their team is just as important as we are as coaches. They’ve done a fantastic job and we’re lucky to have them.”
Holbrook has been able to call on a predominately fit squad all year but recently has been forced into some changes.
That has seen the likes of Jack Ashworth and Matty Lees get more game time, and increased roles for those players coming off the bench.
“It’s made a huge difference for us,” he continued. “The depth of your squad is the most important thing and I think we’ve shown that. It has definitely been crucial to us winning games.
“At Wakefield, I was really impressed with the guys coming off the bench. Matty, Jack and Jon Wilkin swung the game in our favour. It was 0-0 for 25 minutes and then those three came on and made a huge impact to the end result.
“I’m really happy for Jack and Matty. They’re good mates; they travel to training together and do everything together, so it’s good to have them both on the field at the same time.”
He continued: “All the forwards have stood up and Luke Thompson has had a lot of appearances this year and so he should.
“Then you have Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook. Over the last three or four weeks he has been our best player and has made a huge difference in every game.
“He started in the back row last week against Wakefield, played 80 minutes and did a great job. He’s been brilliant for us and we’ve needed him to be.
“I love the way he plays. It’s not just his passion and enthusiasm, it’s the way he’s playing too. He’s been great!’
Saints’ next Betfred Super League fixture sees them host Wigan in the derby on August 31 – and it’s a test Holbrook and the squad is excited about.
“We’re really looking forward to it,” he continued. “Obviously there’s been a slower build up with the week off but we will ramp it up later this week to be ready for next Friday.
“Playing at home against Wigan is a fantastic game for us.’
Saints face Wigan Warriors at 7:45pm on Friday August 31 at the Totally Wicked Stadium.
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