IT is 12 months since Justin Holbrook was appointed Saints coach — but he did his best this week to steer questions away from his own impact on the club’s revival.

Instead he paid tribute to the staff and players — and ahead of the first knockout game of the year — stressed it is about doing it on the pitch.

And that goes up a notch this weekend when Saints travel to Castleford in the opening round of the Challenge Cup - Holbrook's first taste of the prestigious competition.

But reflecting on the past 12 months at Saints Holbrook said: “I could not wait to get over here. 

"As much as I loved my time as assistant at the Roosters I missed being the head coach and had been lucky enough to have done that in the lower grades all the way through.

"It is something I wanted to do and as soon as I got here I have loved it.

“All of our staff here are great.

“You don’t have good results by just looking at the team on paper, you have got to have good coaches, performance staff and medical staff and then you have to have your players wanting to do it.

“There has been plenty of teams that have under-achieved by just looking at the teamsheet."

Holbrook was reluctant to talk about his role in the transformation in fortunes during that time, nor was he letting the team get ahead of itself given no pots have yet been won.

“We have a real good mix of staff and players buying into the same thing.

“The staff and players work hard and we have been getting the rewards and want to keep it it that way.

“I always tell the players we will be judged on our 80 minutes because nobody will see what we do in training.

“It is up to us to be honest and accountable and then we will get the rewards on game day.

“We need that to continue that on Saturday in an important cup tie,” he said.