SAINTS coach Justin Holbrook gave his thoughts to Mike Critchley at the training ground this week.

MC: Was that type of game at Hull KR to be expected given Easter and the time off afterwards?

JH: It is never to be expected because you don’t want to go into a game expecting that type of game to be played out.

But I can understand it – the fact that we did have a Sunday game gave us the chance to give players some time off.

If you come back in on Thursday and playing on Sunday it is hard to be on your best. As staff, we knew we would not be at our best, but we had to be good enough to win and we did that in the end.

Read: Holbrook's thoughts on an outstanding Jonny Lomax>

We did not want to start that way, because that put us under pressure, but credit to the players for turning a 12-0 deficit into a 18-14 half time lead.

That was really crucial and that shows the difference in how we are playing this year compared to last season.

We played with a lot more patience and we did not try to turn the game back in our favour straight away, we built it over time.

In the second half we could not kick clear but that was to Hull KR’s credit.

It was not our best game defensively, but in attack we scored some good tries and the skill levels were outstanding.

With the few weeks we have had, to go there and get the win was the main thing.

St Helens Star:

MC: Tommy Makinson has worked hard all year – it must have been pleasing for him individually to get some reward with a hat-trick?

JH: Tommy is a huge part of our team – and even at the start of the year, although he was not getting over the try line, but the work he gets through for us is phenomenal. His value to us was important whether he scores or not, and from round one he has not faltered, but it will be good for him to get some recognition.

St Helens Star:

MC: The ball getting more to the right side, is that a shift because Mark Percival is out or is to do with Kevin Naiqama finding his feet?

JH: It is more to do with Kev ­— we were always going to ease our new players in and we were not in a hurry to get to our end product at the start of the season.

We want to be building as the year went on.

For someone like Kev, he has found his feet and is slowly getting his combinations and over the last few weeks we have given him more ball.

As for a deliberate tactic, definitely not. The strength of our team means our left and right edges are equally dangerous and that is important.

The last three or four weeks Kev has really stepped up for us.

St Helens Star:

MC: Aaron Smith has shown his value to the squad and huge potential, you must be happy to sign him up.

JH: It is always good to get the chance to reward a good young local player. Every young player who comes through this town wants to play first team and Super League. It is every kid's dream. It is the most enjoyment you get as a coach to reward those guys.

You can always bring players in - and when they are here, like Lachlan Coote, they think 'well how good is this', but prior to coming here it is take it or leave, becaise you haven't lived it.

Any young local player lives it. For a player like Aaron - a quiet kid, who has proven this year that he is a Super League player which is great.

We know now that every time Robes has a knock Aaron can definitely jump in for us.

It is great for him to stay here and for our club.

Read: Challenge Cup tie preview and early team news>

MC: What are your thoughts on David Furmer being sacked by Leeds Rhinos?

JH: Any time a fellow coach gets sacked is not good. But without being at that club it is hard to comment apart from saying it is disappointing news.

He has been brought over to rebuild the club and it hasn't gone the way he or the club would have liked over the first half of the year. They have made a decision.

They are a big, powerful club Leeds and they expect results - and they haven't got them.

It is a tough call, and a disappointing one for Dave.