SAINTS coach Justin Holbrook was pleased to see his side kick off the new era in Super League with a 22-12 win over champions Wigan.

First half tries from debutant Kevin Naiqama and Jonny Lomax had given Saints a dream start, but they were pegged back by a barge over from Ben Flower and an intercept from Liam Marshall.

A tough second half, underpinned with some huge defence saw Saints regain control with tries from the outstanding skipper James Roby and wing Regan Grace wrapping it up.

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Holbrook said: “I am very happy with that. We know that clashes with Wigan are always tough and so to come away with the win was a pleasing thing.

“We started really well and then we were a little bit unlucky to be level at half time.

“Once again give Wigan credit – they keep coming back because we could have skipped away with it in the first half and were unlucky with a few things.

“Then the second half was a great defensive effort – they ramped up their game and we got caught on our line a fair bit and then we did the same to them.”

The match marked debuts for NRL trio Lachlan Coote, Kevin Naiqama and Joseph Paulo.

Coote at full back showed some silky touches, was called up with his kicking game and was diligent in minesweeping a variety of Wigan kicks.

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“For Kev to score so early and Lachlan to bring what I knew he would bring to the side was tremendous.

“Lachlan is such a calming influence and he reads a game really well.

“On top of that to have Big Alex back for his first comp game was fantastic.

“I thought we all worked really hard as a team.

“I knew we would not be at our best – like every team – but this year we will get better as a team because we have a few new players and it will take us time.

“The important thing is we get the wins and we made a start on that tonight,” he said.

“I thought we showed enough in attack and defensively we were really strong. To only concede from a barge over and a length of the field intercept against a very good Wigan side showed we were defensively great.

“In attack there were some good signs there.”

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Holbrook explained his reasons behind his selection of Theo Fages at seven in preference to Danny Richardson.

“Danny had a disrupted pre-season and was in rehab till Christmas but he is 100 per cent now.

“Theo has worked really hard – there was not much in it, but that is the way we wanted to go tonight.

“Theo is a very tough, solid player.

“Danny will play a big part for us this year, but for round one against Wigan this is the way we went,” he said.