Holbrook - Saints' saviour?
Justin Holbrook has been appointed as St Helens' new head coach, writes the Liverpool Echo.
Holbrook, 41, left his job as assistant coach with the Sydney Roosters to succeed Keiron Cunningham at the Totally Wicked Stadium and is due to arrive at St Helen's this week. But he will not take charge of the team until next week, according to the St Helen's Star.
The announcement was initially made by the Roosters, with head coach Trent Robinson saying: "This is an exciting opportunity for Justin and on behalf of everyone involved with the Roosters, we wish Justin, his wife Nat and their young family all the very best."
St Helens confirmed that Holbrook, who also coaches the Junior Kangaroos, has signed a two-and-a-half-year contract and will set off for England as soon as his visa arrives.
Since Cunningham's departure on April 10, Saints have been coached by an interim trio of Sean Long, Derek Traynor and Jamahl Lolesi.
Saints broke with tradition by appointing from within when they turned to Cunningham at the end of the 2014 season and will now be hoping Holbrook can return to the club to the glory days they enjoyed under fellow Australians Shaun McRae, Ian Millward, Daniel Anderson and Nathan Brown.
"We are delighted to secure Justin," said St Helens chief executive Mike Rush, who recently spent time in Australia looking at candidates. "He is widely experienced and has a track record of coaching at the highest level.
"He impressed us with his knowledge of the British game and his work with younger players."
Holbrook has instructed coaching staff to stick with the same team for Saturday’s Magic weekend fixture – and with the new boss’s eyes upon them the players will be playing to keep their places.
Saints, who face Hull at the weekend’s two-day jamboree at Newcastle United’s St James’ Park, will try and pick themselves up from their dismal Challenge Cup exit.
With that game followed by a home encounter against Wigan and then trips to Huddersfield and Castleford, the next four weeks will make it crystal clear what Saints are battling for in the remainder of the campaign.