SAINTS coach Justin Holbrook spoke with the Star’s Mike Critchley this week to reflect on another thriller.

MC: Never write off the Saints seems to be back in vogue?

JH: It was a huge show of character and self belief and probably showed where we are at as a side with how we could come back from that.

If we had been in a similar position last year we would have probably fallen away and not been able to stay clear on what we were going to do. And there was a good indication of that on the weekend.

We never want to be that far behind – and we started great – but opened the door for Salford and they have some great attacking players. To be able to turn that around was tremendous and I thought our fans played a massive part in that.

To be down 30-16 and still have them all singing the Saints songs it is a huge ask when it could have gone the other way.

To really show their support and for the players to lift off the back of that was a huge credit to them and to go on and find a way to win after putting ourselves in a real bad position was great.

St Helens Star:

MC: You would not have wished for injuries but the absences are adding depth and experience to the squad?

JH: You don’t want anyone injured – you want your best every week, but in our brutal sport it is going to happen. And so therefore it is important that your squad does a job.

Everyone wants to play and when they get a chance to play they play really well. That is a credit to the playing group.

MC: The results went well at the weekend, does that six-point cushion affect anything you do?

JH: We have done everything right this year and we will continue that on we won’t change anything. If anything it does make it harder as every team wants to lift themselves to beat us, That is what we have to accept and deal with. It is a long year and we will just keep going.

MC: Are you seeing how important Big Al is to this team after missing him last year?

JH: He has been outstanding, in particular the last few weeks, when we have had Tommo out injured, he has really stepped it up.

He has been fantastic for us and the minute he came on for that second stint against Salford it lifted us and we played off the back of that.

He is a really important member of our team and you can see why.

MC: He has always made a big physical impact but you could see on Friday, he is a leader now.

JH: Yes, he is and he is with Jonny not far behind Robes in that leadership role and then you have got young Morgan Knowles, who has a 30-year-old head on 22-year-old shoulders.

We have some good leaders, plus some calming guys in Theo and Cootey the way they play.

St Helens Star:

MC: You mention Morgan Knowles – 100 appearances. It is almost like when James Graham broke into the team he never left.

JH: He is tremendous and if you see the work he does off the ball and the small parts of the game that a lot of people don’t see, he has been our best players in those areas.

MC: Big game at an iconic venue, what is it like for the players and coaches?

JH: We are really excited. Although we all loved going to Newcastle and the weekend away – if it had to move from there then I am glad it is just down the road for us it is like another home game.

We are only 20 minutes down the road so hopefully we can get as many fans as we can.

It is a great weekend and to have it at an historic venue like Anfield is terrific. We are all really looking forward.

St Helens Star:

MC: Have you been to Anfield before?

JH: Yes, the last time I was there it was for the international and I squeezed in the Kop with my young lad and was singing 'Tommy, Tommy' Tommy Makinson, just sitting in the crowd and not worrying about anything apart from watching our players play so well.

But to have our club there is great and I am looking forward to it.

For me I love football, but you are allowed to like more than one sport and for those who are in that football bubble, just open your eyes and see how hard working and honest the game of rugby league is.

There are inroads we can make and with the football season just finishing it could give them something to do, to come down the road and watch us. If we can get any new fans out of it it would be win-win situation.

Read: Big interview with Saints skipper James Roby>

MC: Cas have had injuries from the outset, and have had a mixed season, but what can you expect from them at the weekend?

JH: They always like playing us and play well against us. They have been disrupted heavily by injuries this year and that is not a true reflection on the way they have been paying.

They are getting a few back now and showed at the weekend with a good win over Leeds.

They will want to play well against us on Sunday.

MC: Is Kevin Naiqama fit to play?

JH: Kev is ok. He had a bit of a tight back for a few weeks but it hasn’t affected the way he has been playing. But with the shorter turnaround last week it was the smarter option, instead of pushing him to play, knowing that he would be 100 per cent for this week.

MC: Did Tommy’s performance in the centre give you food for thought on what to do with the backline with Naiqama returning?

JH: Tommy is a great player, wherever you play him but I still believe he is the best winger in Super League and that is where you should put him.

St Helens Star:

MC: Robes comes back in this week, are you looking at a situation eventually whereby you have both him and Aaron Smith playing regularly in the 17?

JH: Yes, that is a possibility.