SAINTS boss Justin Holbrook believes the new faces coming in next year will help freshen up the team and break the mental barrier that has seen them falter in the games that matter.

Although the team bounced through the year, finishing clear at the top, they have cracked in the do-or-die tussles.

Last week’s Super League semi-final defeat by Warrington was the club’s sixth successive loss at the last hurdle in both competitions since they were last champions in 2014.

Holbrook said: “We have only lost once away from home this year, won 26 from 30 league games – so it is not like we are a million miles away – we don’t need to make drastic changes.

“If you are losing big games, like semi finals, then it is more mental issue than physical one, but we have to get that right.

“We will be stronger next year with those young guys like Matty Lees and Jack Ashworth getting experience this year and with Kevin Naiqama, Joseph Paulo and Lachlan Coote coming in.

“As good a side we have been this year we need to be better because of those two semi final defeats.

“We need to get over this and stop it becoming an issue so that is why it is good to have fresh faces coming in from overseas.”

It will not just be the new signings who Holbrook believes can make a difference, he expects Alex Walmsley to make a huge impact after missing most of the season since his serious neck-bone break in March.

“We missed Big Al – he makes a difference, as will a fit-again James Roby, because he was just hanging on in there at the back end of the year,” he said.

Apart from those on international duty, the team will now have four weeks off with a staggered return for players depending on their involvement. Holbrook, too, will take a break.

He said: “I will need to get away after getting closure on this season. I need to think clearly and come up with ways of getting through the big games.”