THE Star’s Mike Critchley caught up with Saints coach Justin Holbrook ahead of the opening round of Super League.

MC: How have finishing touches gone?

JH: We feel great and ready but you want to know if you have got everything covered.

I am confident we have. It feels like it has been so long, but now it is here it has gone quick. It will be great to get out there and kick off the season.

Both teams will get better as the year goes on. Particularly us with the new players we have brought in.

We want to get better as the year goes on but also know how important it is to start well on Thursday.

MC: How will Wigan come to terms with the departure of some big beasts?

JH: They are a fantastic club. They have lost Sam Tomkins and John Bateman but brought in Zak Hardaker who is a fantastic player.

They have good young players coming through with an Academy that is as good as ours. Both sides have a few new faces, it is going to be a great game.

MC: What will Adrian Lam bring to Wigan?

JH: I don’t think there will be changes straight away Lammy will want to put his own touches on. They won the comp last year and won’t start too far from the way they play.

He’ll have his own ways, but whether we see that on Thursday time will tell.

MC: What impact do you think the tweaks to the game - interchanges and shot clock -will have?

JH: It is great for us and great for the sport. We want the game to speed up and that is what will happen with the new rules and that is great for everybody.

MC: Do you think some teams will try and find their way around the new rules?

JH: Hopefully not. I hope it is is not designed for coaches to try and outsmart new rule changes. The idea for putting them in is to make our game better for the players and fans.

Over the years things have crept in; delaying tactics were not part of our game, it is built on hard work and honesty.

If we get them in place that will better for the game. Everyone seems to want the changes and that is a good thing.

MC: Tommy Makinson seems pleased to be working outside Kevin Naiqama?

JH: Kevin will add something massively to that side of the field. He is such a dangerous player.

He is so strong, fast and agile so if you are worrying about Tommy then Kevin will cause you headaches.

And if you focus on Kevin he will get the ball out and Tommy can do what he does. He is one of the best finishers in the game. It is a bit of a lethal combination.

We know how dangerous our left edge is, but to have our right edge equally as damaging.

MC: Listening to what all the other players say, Joseph Paulo has added something to the middle.

JH: I have watched him for a few years and I always thought he would be suited to the game over here – he is so skilful and tough enough as well.

He is going to be great for the team

MC: What is the thinking behind letting Luke Douglas go on a month’s loan to Leigh?

JH: Luke is fantastic and will play a part for us this year but I just wanted him to play some games early on in the season.

Some of the young guys have probably got the jump on him this season.

He is an ultimate pro and we love him at the club. This is an opportunity for us to get him games.

MC: How important is Alex Walmsley’s return?

JH: To have the season we had without him was a credit to the players, but we are much better team with him back and to have him for round one is fantastic.

We have great depth in the pack and that is a luxury.