SAINTS coach Justin Holbrook has sought to diffuse the tension from fans after star man Ben Barba walked down the tunnel at full time in the past two defeats rather than applaud the fans with his teammates, writes Nathan Okell.

“Club CEO Mike Rush said that it’s a British thing to do (to lap the pitch and applaud the fans), but I said I wouldn’t do it if I was a player after a defeat,” said Holbrook.

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“I always go and clap our fans after a victory, but if we get beat, I feel why are we going to clap you after we’ve played poorly? I’m on Benny’s side with that because I don’t really get it.

“I spoke to Benny after the game and he said he clapped them at the start of the game when he ran on the pitch, but if we get beat we both don’t feel we should be clapping them, because we feel like we’ve let ourselves and the team down.

“It’s not trying to be a bad sport. It’s just like if I watch someone play something, and they get beat and come over I’m not clapping them because they didn’t win.

“That’s just the way we’ve grown up in Australia.

“Benny takes things a lot harder than most people. He puts a lot of pressure on himself and his performance, and if he feels he hasn’t delivered in that area, he’s not going to take praise or acknowledgement too well.

“I guess he’s a bit of a perfectionist, and sometimes the top players are a bit different.

“That’s what makes them as good as they are, but on the flip side makes them stand out in a bad way as well. He’s not trying to disrespect the fans by not going over.”