SAINTS coach Justin Holbrook expressed his disappointment after the surprise Challenge Cup Final defeat by Warrington.

Although he paid tribute to the way Warrington used an effective, simple game plan – he questioned why the referee had not gone to the screen for Morgan Knowles’ try.

Video replays showed the Saints loose forward winning the race to touch it down, but it was not sent up for checking.

Holbrook said: “It was a massive call. We are talking about a big game, get your nose in front in a Challenge Cup Final and it is a different game.

St Helens Star:

“You would be filthy if that was a regular round of Super League.

“To not check that and then give them six again when it came off them, three tackles later they score, makes it hard work.

“I can’t get my head around not checking a call like that in a big game.”

Saints made a lot of errors, particularly as they chased the game – but Holbrook praised the effort of his players.

“I am disappointed in losing, but not the way we played. Everyone of our guys threw everything into it. That is all you ask for.

“It is disappointing. I thought it was a great game of rugby league. It was end to end and not giving an inch.

“We threw everything at them in that first 20 minutes of that second half and could not get over the line.

“In the end we made a few errors, but we are chasing the game in 30-degree heat when everyone is run off their feet,” he said.

“I could not fault our effort, but have to give Warrington credit on how they played today. They simplified their game and kicked well.

“It was a tough day, with the heat like that. If you get in front you play differently.

“We had a lot of near misses, Zebby was nearly over, Tommy too and then the first try by Morgan Knowles, we’d have been here with an 18-16 win or something like that but it was not to be. It was Warrington’s day.”

Although Coote – playing his first game for six weeks started well – focus will be on his dropped high ball that led to Warrington’s second try, plus the missed conversion that left Saints still chasing the game.

However, Holbrook insisted it was the right call to play him.

“Coote was fit but he had not played for five weeks so it is not an easy day out, it would have been easier if we had poked our noses in front.

“He has taken a bit of weight on his shoulders there – but he will better for it the back end of the year.

“Cootey has been our best all year and I have so much trust in him as a player, and he’ll be great for us in the back end of the season,” he said.

Saints – so dominant all year – will now look vulnerable when it comes to the play-offs.

READ: What Morgan Knowles had to say>

Holbrook expects the pain of defeat to drive them on.

He said: “We have got to get on with it as a group.

“It hurts us all – and it should hurt, if it doesn’t we are in the wrong environment. We were not good enough today.

“I am proud of them, but the best team on the day won.”