SAINTS boss Justin Holbrook was delighted to lift his first piece of silverware in England after a young side saw off an equally depleted Hull FC.

They collected the League Leaders Shield – their first trophy since 2014 – with two games to spare.

But Holbrook, although pleased, admitted that the big one is coming up in the knockout stages.

Holbrook said: “It was a good performance from us tonight and to pleasing to win the League Leaders Shield, which is a goo achievement to be rewarded as the most consistent side over 30 rounds.

“I am proud of the boys for achieving that, but as we all know it is Old Trafford that counts.

“I don’t want to downplay this, it is great to be rewarded and I am happy.

“The whole season is built on the end of the year and this is a nice thing to collect on the way through the season.

“We have managed to do that with two games to go.

“I am happy to win the Shield – that is good recognition for the club and the players, but we have got a few games to go yet.”

It was an interesting line up from Saints, with Holbrook revealing that he had to play his only fit and eligible 17 players.

With Theo Fages dropping out earlier today, it meant a call up for Jake Spedding, while 17-year-old Jack Welsby made an enthusiastic debut off the bench.

There was a strong showing on debut from James Bentley in the second row.

“The young players went well,” Holbrook said.

“We were forced into that a bit – but every club goes through a bit of that. We had everybody who was fit and eligible to play, playing tonight.

“It was great for the young boys to get a taste of that and play well. I am just pleased they all played so well and got a taste of first team experience with a good win.

“James Bentley has tried really hard at Sheffield this year and to get the opportunity tonight with having so many players out, I thought he really stood up and handled it really well.

“To play 80 minutes in your first game in the back row – he did a great job and I am happy for him.”

After taking a 12-0 lead, Saints were pegged back by Hull but that never concerned Holbrook.

“I thought we played really well in the first half but it didn’t show on the scoreline. We just had to keep at in the second half and we did that,” he said.

“It was a pleasing performance. Last week we managed to get the ball into the hands of our strike players quite well and we did it again tonight and score some good tries.”

He said all the players missing were just short term injuries with no major concerns.